Finland officially became the last Nordic nation to establish marriage equality after its president signed a bill that came into fruition through a citizen-led campaign.
Finnish President Sauli Niinistö signed the bill Friday, after Parliament passed the legislation in November 2014 with a narrow 105 to 92 vote, according to U.K. LGBT outlet Gay Star News. The law will take effect and allow same-sex couples to have equal marriage rights and privileges by March 2017.
In addition to Finland becoming one of the few countries in the world to recognize the freedom to marry, the law is also the first of its kind to ever be passed by the Finnish government through a citizen’s initiative, according to Finnish news site YLE.
Finland joins its Nordic neighbors Iceland, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark, as well as other European nations like France, Spain, Portugal, Belguim, and England as countries that extend marriage rights to all couples regardless of gender, according to U.S. advocacy group Freedom to Marry.
"This was a very large and unique campaign, it was the first citizen's movement," Aija Salo of National Seta, one of Finland’s most well-known LGBT groups, told Gay Star News. "The public spoke. It is very important to a lot of people personally and also symbolically, and people are very happy."