Notaries register 43 civil partnerships in 2016
Last year Estonian notaries registered 43 civil partnerships, nearly half of which were registered in the first three months after the gender-neutral Registered Partnership Act entered into effect at the beginning of the year.
In the first quarter of 2016, notaries registered 20 civil partnerships, while eight were registered in the second, four in the third, and 11 in the fourth quarter, managing director of the Estonian Chamber of Notaries, Eve Strang, told BNS on Wednesday.
“We don’t have statistics showing how many of the partnerships were registered by same-sex couples and how many by heterosexual couples,” Strang said.
Since the law’s implementing provisions still haven’t been adopted, many problems had occurred in connection with civil partnership agreements, Strang said. For instance, the agreements couldn’t be entered into registers, which meant that they weren’t visible for many institutions.
An intense public debate preceding the Registered Partnership Act’s adoption by the Riigikogu did not concentrate on the legal difference between previously established legally registered partnerships, like marriage, and the new bill, but revolved almost entirely around the question whether or not homosexual couples should be allowed to enter into such a legally recognized partnership.
The debate among other things popularized conservative as well as liberal citizens’ movements, contributing to the call of organizations across Estonian society for increased participation in the legislative process. The bill passed the Riigikogu’s third reading despite intense opposition by members of the Center Party, the Estonian Conservative People’s Party (EKRE), and the Pro Patria and Res Publica Union (IRL).