Lawmaker cleared of 'violating dignity of homosexuals' hopes verdict encourages Christians to defend their freedom

Paivi Rasanen was cleared of all charges including agitating against gay people

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A medical doctor and a former Finnish interior minister cleared of violating the dignity of homosexuals hopes the verdict gives encouragement to Christians to defend their rights.

A district court on Wednesday cleared Paivi Rasanen of charges of agitating against gay people after she described homosexuality as a "developmental disorder" and a sin.

In a case without precedent in Finland, the Helsinki district court had to weigh the importance of free speech and whether citing the Bible can be considered a crime against concerns over basic rights and protection of minorities.

Speaking to Mark Steyn, Ms Rasanen said how the case had felt like her calling.

She told us: "I'm very thankful and relieved now.

This has been a long process, it has lasted almost three years, it has been quite hard.

"I feel it has been my calling to defend freedom of speech and to defend freedom of religion."

The medical doctor and a former Finnish interior minister, called homosexuality "a developmental disorder" in an online opinion letter in 2004 and "a shame and a sin" on Twitter in 2019, the prosecutor said.

Rasanen also called homosexuality a "genetic degeneration" in a radio programme in 2019.

Rasanen, who has been a member of parliament for a small centre-right party since 1995, cited freedom of religion and denied any wrongdoing, saying the prosecutor's claims were unfounded.

She added: "The process in itself has felt like some kind of punishment.

"I was interrogated for 13 hours about my religion, my faith.

"I believe the outcome of the district court is an encouragement to Christians and to all the people to use their rights and their freedoms."

Wednesday's verdict is not final as it can still be appealed in a higher court.