Finnish MP, bishop cleared of hate crime charges for views on homosexuality

Article by: Ryan Foley

A Finish court has dismissed all hate speech charges filed against Member of Parliament Paivi Rasanen and Bishop Juhana Pohjola of the Evangelical Lutheran Mission Diocese of Finland over their religious beliefs that marriage is a union between one man and one woman. 

A three-judge panel on the Helsinki District Court determined in a unanimous ruling Wednesday that the government should not be interpreting “biblical concepts.” The court reasoned that statements made by the former interior minister and Christian Democratic Party leader didn’t constitute hate speech even though they may have offended members of the LGBT community. 

The court ordered the prosecution to pay the legal costs associated with the trial. Rasanen said she felt a weight lifted off her shoulders after being acquitted. She hopes the ruling will “prevent others from having to go through the same ordeal.” “I’m relieved. I’m happy and grateful to God and to all the people that have supported me,” Rasanen proclaimed at a press conference Wednesday. 

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