Voting 73-30 on Friday to let churches hold prayer services for same-sex civil unions, the Synod of the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church approved "blessing ceremonies" for The Gays, stopping short of letting anyone call these things marriages. "The decision accepts the human value of every person," says Archbishop Kari Mäkinen, who was glad to see the measure pass. "No type of insulting or denigrating attitude toward homosexual people is acceptable. But at the same time, this keeps marriage as a union between a man and a woman." (NB: In Finland, domestic partnerships have been legal since 2002, though Parliament is expected to take up gay marriage and adoption legislation next year.) But it was Wille Riekkinen, the bishop of Kuopio (pictured), who had the best commentary: "Let’s adjust our pacemakers, and show a bit of respect toward all people," he says, shooting down conservative opposition to recognizing gay marriages because the Bible supposedly says so. "Or should we not eat our Christmas ham this year? It is one of the things that are prohibited in the Fifth Book of Genesis."
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