FSD3246 Marriage and the Lutheran Church 2017

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  • Helander, Eila (University of Helsinki)


church, church and state, homosexuality, marriage, marriage customs, minority groups, religious affiliation, religious beliefs, religious communities


This study charted Finnish attitudes toward same-sex marriage and the right of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland to marry couples. The study was funded by the Church Council.

First, the respondents were asked whether they were members of the Church or some other religious community. The most important reasons for being a member of the Church were charted (e.g. faith taught by the Church, possibility to be wedded in a church, the Church helps people in third world countries). Further questions examined participation in Church activities as well as possible intentions of resigning from Church.

Next, the respondents were presented with a set of attitudinal statements regarding e.g. whether it is important for churches and other religious communities to have the right to marry couples, whether the Evangelical Lutheran Church should start to officiate same-sex marriages following their legalisation in 2017, whether the Church's possible decision to start or to not start officiating same-sex marriages would have an effect on the respondents' relationship with the Church, and whether individual pastors or parishes should have the right to officiate or to not officiate same-sex marriages regardless of the Church's stance on the issue.

Finally, the respondents were asked whether their group of friends, relatives or close coworkers included persons who belonged openly to sexual minorities and had personally told the respondents of their sexual orientation. The respondents were also enquired whether they believed in God as well as how often they prayed or read the Bible.

Background variables included, for instance, gender, age, region of residence (NUTS2 and NUTS3), educational level, economic activity and occupational status, household composition, ages of children living at home (categorised), gross annual income of the household (categorised), type of residence, employment industry, and political party R voted for in the previous elections.

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