Constitutional Committee Opposes Referendum on Cohabitation Bill ({{commentsTotal}})

The Parliament's Constitutional Committee has voted not to back a public referendum for the much-debated Cohabitation Act, which would allow all couples, including same-sex, to register for legal protection similar to married couples.

The comment does not prevent the Parliament from debating and voting on the measure to hold a referendum.

IRL proposed the idea of holding a referendum, and that will still be voted on by Parliament on October 7. The Foundation for the Protection of Family and Tradition, the main NGO protesting against the draft law, is planning a protest on October 5.

The actual Cohabitation Act itself will also be debated on October 7 in Parliament.

Head of the Constitutional Committee, Rait Maruste, said the state must be a uniter, not a divider. “If the Cohabitation Act is put to a vote, then society would be divided by the force of the majority.”

Varro Vooglaid, the head of the foundation, said the bill itself will divide society and mean a crisis in democracy. He said Parliament has ignored the signatures of 45,000 people against the bill.

A poll in August commissioned by ERR showed that 58 percent of people in Estonia oppose the draft law, with 34 for and 8 percent undecided.