Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas acknowledged there are many against the Cohabitation Act, but said the task of politicians is to protect the rights of minorities and make society healthier and more open.
Speaking about the planned protest against the bill in front of Parliament on October 5, Rõivas said Estonia is a place where everyone can express their opinions.
He said the government is not trying to force the bill through and there is open debate in Parliament. “I think the Estonian society should be tolerant, as we are not all alike. These differences enrich us,” he said.
Sven Mikser, the head of the other coalition partner, said democratic states do not, as a rule, put questions concerning minorities to national referendums.
“The bill solves a certain minority's real life problems, while not limiting the rights of others,” the leading Social Democrat said.
Mikser said rejecting the draft law would be a step back for Estonian society.
Rõivas said that besides passing popular laws, politicians also sometimes have a duty to push through bills which might not at first be popular, but which actually help turn the society healthier.