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Gay Candidate Loses Presidential Run-Off Election in Finland


Back in January I noted that Pekka Haavisto (above, left), an out gay member of Finland's Green Party, was in a run-off election against Sauli Niinisto (above, right), a pro-European conservative who survived the 2004 tsunami in Thailand by climbing a tree.

The election was held yesterday and Niinisto won:

"It looks like Niinistoe has won," Haavisto conceded on public television YLE, adding: "More than one million people have supported me and I'm quite satisfied with that."

Niinistoe was credited with 62.9 per cent of voter sympathies while Haavisto held just 37.1 per cent, with nearly 95 per cent of votes counted, Finland's justice ministry said.

The numbers were in line with what opinion polls had predicted.

AFP notes where Haavisto was weakest:

Haavisto's homosexuality lost him support among older and more traditional Finns, analysts have said. Haavisto, a 53-year-old liberal, is in a same-sex partnership with an Ecuadorean hairdresser.

Gay Man in Run-Off Election for Finland's Presidency


Pekka Haavisto (above, left), an out gay member of Finland's Green Party, is in a run-off election against Sauli Niinisto (above, right) to serve as the nation's President, the AP reports:

The conservative favorite easily won the first round of Finland’s presidential election Sunday, setting up a runoff against an environmentalist leader who is the first openly gay candidate to run for head of state in the Nordic country.

Sauli Niinisto, a former finance minister, won 37 percent of the vote, well ahead of the other candidates but short of the majority needed to avoid a second round, official preliminary results showed.

With all votes counted, Pekka Haavisto, of the Greens party, was second with 18.8 percent, securing his place in the Feb. 5 runoff.

Flores_haavistoHere's Haavisto with his husband (or 'registered partner' as they call it in Finland, Antonio Flores (right).

A Finnish reader, Kodekon, writes in to Towleroad about what's happening:

Haavisto will be against Sauli Niinistö, who has been the front runner during the whole presidential campaign, and who is widely believed to win the election in the end. Although nothing is certain yet ;) The commentators noted that Haavisto's success probably came from people being fed up by the sudden rise in the last parliamentary election of populist party True Finns (actually they changed their English name to be just "Finns"; another populist move which annoyed lot of people here) who have been known to be e.g. conservative, anti-gay and anti-immigration. Even though True Finns got almost 20 % of votes in the parliamentary election their candidate and party leader Timo Soini only got 9,4% of the votes today. Hopefully True Finns are losing steam because even if they appear to be fighting the cause of the poor (and thus being on the left side of the politics here) they also have quite vocal right wing part, that has talked openly about hating muslims and gays, and all that bullshit. I have to point out, though,that we are talking about Finland which is one of the most peaceful countries in the world, and our political parties are quite mild when compared to some other countries :) True Finns have brought out a dangerous hate speech to the front, but still it's pretty mild.

Pekka Haavisto, who is a seasoned politician and has worked for United Nations before coming back to being a politician in Finland, has been seen as a man of peace and a bridge builder between different political parties and he famously visited a gay hating True Finn Member of Parliament to try to show him that gays are normal people. I have to add, though, that the True Finn MP in question, Teuvo Hakkarainen, spoke against the gays earlier in heated tone because some Finnish bears declared publicly that he was sexy. Teuvo got upset because of that and called a news paper to inform that he wished all the immigrants and all the gays should be shipped to an island and let them live there by themselves. He later said that he spoke in anger but this was actually just one his public faux pas since he's a rookie in politics and doesn't quite know how to behave.

But I have to say that although we Finns are pretty tolerant people the homosexuality is still not as public as it should be. Even if we have for decades had quite visible public gay figures it hasn't been until the last few years that general public has been shown that being gay is ok through coming out by some popular singers etc. Many people do hope that Pekka Haavisto will be the next president so the general acceptance of homosexuality would get much higher. But personally I'm afraid that there's just too much opposition from the old people and such to vote for a gay president.

More on the election here, from a Finnish paper. The second round takes place, as mentioned above, on February 5.

Adam Lambert and Boyfriend Arrested After Drunken Brawl Outside Helsinki Gay Bar

Adam Lambert has been arrested and jailed in Finland after a fight with his Finnish boyfriend Sauli Koskinen outside a gay bar in Helsinki, the tabloid Ilta-Sanomat reports:

Lambert_koskinenLambert and Koskinen got into a heated fight between each other when they were partying in Helsinki. Lambert and Koskinen were taken into jail. They will be questioned during this morning after they have sobered up. We have to wait until that, police officer Petri Juvonen told the Finnish newspaper Ilta-Sanomat.

Both men will be held in custody during interrogations. After questioning Adam Lambert and Sauli Koskinen will be released.
The reason of the quarrel between the two lovers has not yet been confirmed. According to the police possible injuries are not severe.

Our assumption is that people were very intoxicated when the officers arrived to the scene...

The tabloid's video of Lambert arriving in Finland, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Adam Lambert and Boyfriend Arrested After Drunken Brawl Outside Helsinki Gay Bar" »

Finland's State Church to Sanction Prayer for Gay Marriages

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Finland's General Synod has approved, by a vote of 78-30, the creation of a prayer for registered same-sex partnerships.

AFP reports: Lutheran

"After years of debate, Finland's state church took a step towards accepting gay relationships with an announcement Friday it would create a "prayer moment" for registered partnerships. 'The proposal offers a positive opportunity to minister to church members who are sexual minorities,' the General Synod, the Evangelical Lutheran Church's highest administrative body, said in a statement. The General Synod must now draw up a formula for a prayer that walks a fine doctrinal line, observers said. Lutheran ministers will have the choice of performing the prayer with gay couples in a church, but it will not actually constitute a church's blessing of the union itself, synod spokesman Marko Kailasmaa told AFP...The vote can be seen as a concession of sorts to a groundswell of popular support within the church community for Christian gays, lesbians and bisexuals. 'A prayer moment is part of pastoral care ... It's not an official sacrament, but you can't say that a prayer is less important,' Kailasmaa said."

In October, the Church reportedly saw an exodus of tens of thousands of people over remarks it made at a gay rights panel on the Finnish Broadcasting Company.

In related news, here's Finland's "It Gets Better" video, if you missed it.

Watch: 'It Gets Better' Goes to Finland!


Dan Savage's phenomenal 'It Gets Better' campaign continues to expand its reach. 

Here's a video created at TEDx Helsinki, which includes not only Finland's Next Top Model winner, but the country's Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb (above) and Justice Minister Tuija Brax (in purple coat).

Writes Tommi, who appears in the still for the clip:

"The response to the video  has been amazing. In the premiere the audience of TedX Helsinki gave it a standing ovation. The president of the republic has mentioned it in her speech. In two days it has gathered 41 000 views in a country of five million. It's been shown in dozens of schools followed by a debate. All main TV stations will show it in full, which means that millions will see it. We got a publishing deal for a It Gets Better book, which will come out for the Christmas market."


Continue reading "Watch: 'It Gets Better' Goes to Finland!" »

News: NPR, Chris Colfer, Calvin Klein, Shark Attack, Finland

 road NPR on its recent canning of Juan Williams: “He had several times in the past violated our news code of ethics with things that he had said on other people’s air.”

Cc  road For whatever reason, Glee's Chris Colfer doesn't come across as narcissistic with this statement: "If somebody had to be a role model, I think I'm a good candidate, in the sense that I really don't do anything obviously stupid or wrong, and I'm pretty smart with my judgments."

 road Rick Sanchez lives to tweet again.

 road The NY Times reports on why the creators of South Park plagiarized jokes on this week's episode: "When Mr. Parker and Mr. Stone could not find a movie theater showing 'Inception,' and were unable to get a DVD of the film (or find a watchable version on BitTorrent), they turned to other parodies of the film on the Web, and found the CollegeHumor video." Still sounds fishy to me.

 road A whole lotta green eggs and ham: The 19-page manuscript of a previously unpublished Dr. Seuss manuscript is sold at auction for a cool $34,000.

 road Prosecutors in Vancouver want a man accused of attacking a 62-year-old at a gay bar charged with a hate crime. The victim was left with permanent brain damage.

 road Anti-gay comments spark mass exodus from Finnish church: "The number leaving increased sharply on 12 October following the broadcast of a debate programme focused on gay rights on Network 2 of the Finnish Broadcasting Company (Yle). By Monday 18 October, more than 24,000 people had left Finland’s Evangelical-Lutheran and Orthodox Churches."

Weather  road Weather forecast for some red states is a giant hovering red penis.

 road Katy Perry and Russell brand got hitched.

 road Calvin Kelin ads can't seem to stay away from controversy.

 road The video game Fable III is about to become very gay-friendly: "We don't require you to be of a certain type to get married," said Peter Molyneux, creative director at Microsoft Game Studios Europe. "You can be gay. You can be bisexual. You can get married as many times as you like. It's up to you. My fascination is with what that means to people. It means they can be who they are rather than who I require them to be."

 road The digital age has officially killed the Sony Walkman.

 road Shark attack that killed a 19-year-old in California was most likely involved a Great White.


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