Chancellor of Justice Scolds Government for Not Regulating Same-Sex Partnerships, Finds Opposition from Conservatives

laine uudised-laine
24. May 2011

In response to a query from the non-profit Sexual Minorities Protection Union, the Chancellor of Justice Indrek Teder called the lack of regulation of same sex partnerships "unconstitutional" and submitted an opinion to the Ministry of Justice suggesting the development of a law regulating civil unions. 

The Minister of Justice Kristen Michal responded via Postimees, saying that "Estonian society is not yet ready to expand the definition of marriage," but conceded that solving the problem of regulating the various legal relationships that same-sex couples can enter into is an idea worth discussing. 

Madle Saluveer, a representative of Estonian Gay Youth, another non-profit, told ERR Evening News that regulating same-sex marriage is badly needed. "To solve all the various legal issues that arise in relationships, such as not being able to visit your partner in hospital, such as all the various economic transactions that partners can make as a couple".

Both opposition parties in the Parliament, the Social Democrats and the Centre Party support civil unions, both noting that this would also convene new rights to couples in long term relationships who have opted not to marry.

The Reform Party, which holds 33 seats in the Parliament is willing to discuss the issue, but as both minister Michal and Valdo Randpere, a Reform party MP noted – they need to take into account the opinion of their coalition partner, the conservative Pro Patria and Res Publica Union.

Marko Pomerants, a representative of the party told ERR News that the conservatives do not support expanding the definition of "family". 

Estonia does not currently have any form of legislation regulating same-sex partnerships, a situation common in the former Eastern Bloc. Last time the issue was discussed – in late 2010, when the Reform-controlled Ministry of Justice analyzed possibilities for regulating non-marital relationships, the issue was again vetoed by the conservatives. Ironically, Reform, along with the Social Democrats, has the largest number of MPs who have affirmed their support for same sex relationships in a pre-election poll conducted by the daily newspaper Postimees.