I just wish that there was some modicum of consistency in their lawmaking and rationale…
Parliament’s approval of child marriage ban
Parliament has unanimously approved a proposal to ban child marriages in Finland, daily Turun Sanomat writes. Until now, 16-17-year-olds have had the right to apply at the justice ministry for a special permit to marry under the age of 18.
The justice ministry, which has received between 10 and 30 applications each year, said that a majority of the minors granted permission to marry have been 17-year-old girls. The most common reason given in the applications was religious beliefs. Some 16-year-olds have been given permits to marry due to pregnancy, TS said.
“In most cases, an underage girl applied to marry an older man, based on their religion or culture. I don’t agree with this custom and therefore I proposed to ban it. We must protect children and we must show this in our policies,” Minister of Justice Antti Häkkänen said in a statement.
Banning the special permits will also send a signal internationally that Finland does not approve of underage marriages.
“A marriage is a union of two adults who willingly agree on it. Children should remain children until they turn 18,” he added, according to TS.
Practices that made child marriage possible have been given up in Sweden, Norway and Denmark, the paper said.
“It’s an ongoing goal within international development to stop child marriages and it is also part of Finnish foreign policy. In many developing countries, child marriages are a huge problem and a risk to girls’ health and educational opportunities,” Häkkänen added.