Ex-minister says Cohabitation Act was half-measure ({{commentsTotal}})

Rein Lang
Rein Lang Source: Courtesy of Riigikogu

Reform Party MP Rein Lang, a former culture and justice minister, said he withheld support for the historic gender-neutral bill in the autumn not because he was philosophically opposed to it but because the bill was flawed.

In an opinion in Postimees, Lang wrote: "Actually, same-sex couples didn't get anything other than a small hope that maybe the next Parliament will end up passing a law before January 1, 2016 that allows them to define their cohabitation so that they'd not be on a much poorer legal footing than opposite-sex couples."

The Cohabitation Act made headlines for making Estonia the first post-communist country to legalize same-sex partnerships, but it still requires an implementation act to be signed. Lang argued that instead of just going ahead and legalizing same-sex marriage, the initiative became muddled in what he said was an attempt to seem less controversial.

"The 40 votes cast for the fraudulent law - which is not even a majority of all MPs - doesn't give reason for much optimism. What makes it a textbook case of speciousness is that the noble cause of ending discrimination was overshadowed by the contrived need to give opposite-sex couples the chance to enter into a kind of marriage. By coming up with this, they hoped to seem democratic and have more painless proceedings on the bill," Lang wrote.