A potential vote on gay marriage in future sessions of the General Synod of the Church of Finland has enlivened elections for trustees and parish councillors held on 9 Nov 2014 for the state Lutheran Church, Approximately 19,300 candidates contested 9,300 seats for election. Parish councillors and trustees have powers to set church tax rates, which vary between one and two percent, as well as dictate parish financial matters, and decide on construction projects and humanitarian activities. Parish councillors also elect delegates to the church’s general synod and should a law permitting homosexual marriage be adopted by parliament during the next term, synod members will decide whether to allow church unions between same-sex couples. In 2010 17 per cent of the church’s 3.5 million registered members turned out to vote, the highest turnout in almost 30 years. Conservative groups have sought to mobilize lay members of the church to block calls made by some bishops to support gay marriage, and hope to achieve a majority to block proposals to follow the Church of Sweden in solemnizing gay marriages.