28 Nov 2014

cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (Default)
Just a few hours ago: Finnish Parliament approves same-sex marriage

This law comes from a citizens' initiative (a petition) and makes Finland the last Nordic country to recognize same-sex marriages, to many people's embarrassment.

Wax and I call each other 'my wife', but we got married in Iowa and went through the usual process for getting approval of a foreign marriage, that is, submitted paperwork to a judge, who issued the decision that our Iowan marriage's "closest equivalent" was the Finnish registered partnership (which didn't actually convey all the legal benefits, just most of them).

The article says that the details won't be ironed out before 2015, so I wonder if our status will undergo an automatic conversion then, or we'll have to do something. Of course even if it's automatic, Wax and I already went through a lot more trouble and expense than, say, my Thai classmate who met her Finnish husband via an online dating site and got married after one short visit each.

If a Finnish citizen is engaged married (or in a registered partnership with) a non-EU citizen, their fiancé(e) spouse can get a family member visa - they can work and receive Finnish social services, and don't need proof of income (ETA: though [personal profile] pierydys and her husband had to prove cohabitation when she moved here as a fiancée, so although it is possible to get a fiancé(e) visa it's got a lot of requirements and counts as a special case).

On the other hand, we lesbians could only get a Finnish registered partnership, or a family member's visa, if we could prove we had already lived together for two years (though that isn't the case anymore apparently). In order to meet this requirement, one of us had to get permission to live in the other's country for that time. Getting a green card is literally like winning the lottery, so it was a lot easier for that to be me.

I applied directly to a Finnish university, which required reading up for an entrance exam that I flew to Finland to take at my parents' expense, and once I was accepted I got a student visa, but that required me to submit proof that I had €6000 in a Finnish bank account at the beginning of each school year. (Also students can't take jobs beyond a certain number of hours and don't get social security, though their healthcare is covered by the student union.)

After two years, I was automatically eligible for a family member visa because the government had a record of our cohabiting and considered us common-law married. So our Iowan marriage, years after that, didn't change anything in our daily lives, although we would have had the opportunity to change our names or something I think.

But the barriers to our relationship were costly and complicated, and we wouldn't have managed it without some €12000+ from my parents (a gay tax that would be good to refund to them given the current economic crisis), a ton of paperwork, and support from [personal profile] waxjism's brother, mother, and even her brother's best friend and sister-in-law's sister, both of whom gave me places to crash when [personal profile] waxjism was still living with her homophobic granny for economic reasons and I was banned from the house.

I can think of three gay Finnish celebrities who are married to foreigners, but I don't know a single other gay couple that's half foreign... and, as the Finnish teachers I've seen in the past couple of years will tell you, the majority of immigrants in Finnish language classes are here because of love: married either to Finns, or to spouses who are working here. That's a lot of immigrants and a looooooooooooooot of heterosexual relationships with Finns.

Profile

cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (Default)
Cimorene

April 2017

S M T W T F S
      1
2345678
9101112 131415
16 171819202122
23242526272829
30      

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags

Most Popular Tags

Page generated 27 May 2017 09:58 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios