Gay and lesbian couples began marrying on Wednesday in Finland as a law approved by lawmakers in 2014 finally took effect.

Kuopio MP Markku Rossi was among the first to take advantage of the new law. He and artist Matti Kaarlejärvi converted their 2015 civil partnership into a marriage, according to Ilta-Sanomat.

“As society has now finally made the decision, we want to be an example to others,” said Kaarlejärvi.

More than 100,000 people signed a petition demanding that lawmakers repeal the law. Finland's Parliament last month rejected the activists' calls with a 120-48 vote.

All of Finland's Nordic neighbors have extended marriage rights to same-sex couples.

European nations with equal marriage rights include Sweden, Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Iceland, Spain, Portugal and Gibraltar. A same-sex marriage law that does not include adoption rights took effect last week in Slovenia.