Cohabitation Bill Support Determined By Age and Primary Language, Analysis Shows

"The Cohabitation Act is the death of democracy" (Martin Dremljuga/ERR)
10/9/2014 4:33 PM
Category: Politics

Kristjan Vassil, a research fellow at the Institute of Government and Politics at the University of Tartu, says that the for and against camps are divided along the lines of age and first language, rather than education, religious beliefs and income.

Vassil's unofficial study, published in his blog on Wednesday, is based on the poll conducted by the social and market research company Saar Poll shortly after the last European Parliament elections.

His analysis showed that support for the legalization of same-sex marriages is largest among the Estonian-speaking youth, and especially among those who use e-voting and are happy with the way democracy currently functions in Estonia. People who do not use e-voting and are not satisfied with the present system are the most likely to be against same-sex marriage.

People who voted for the Reform Party or the SDE are also more likely to support same-sex marriage than are those who voted for the Center Party or the IRL.

However, Vassil found that there is actually no clear statistical association between support for or disapproval of same-sex marriages and personal characteristics - education, marital status, religious views, income and so forth - commonly held to influence one's view on this issue.

"I find that what we have here is a conflict of values between generations and, to a lesser extent, between cultures. General characteristics that should measure how conservative an individual is - marriage, faith, determination - are outweighed by the age factor. It is possible that the results are influenced by the way they were measured but I am inclined to think that the conservative views of those opposing the cohabitation bill are not reflected in the society to an extent that they could be used as a key argument. Those who are married do not support same-sex marriages any more, or less, than those who are single. Those who are religious do not support same-sex marriage any more, or less, than those who do not consider themselves religious. The same applies in general to fortitude. So the values on which the rhetoric of the no-campaign relies on, are not reflected in these statistical results (at least not in the given set of three-month old data)."

He added that the data that underlies his analysis allows to conclude with reasonable conviction that the question of same-sex marriages is something that will find a natural solution, because the number of those in favor of it can only increase as time goes by. "So the question is not if, but when, the cohabitation bill is passed," he said.

The Cohabitation Act was passed today with a 40-38 result (with 10 abstentions and 12 absent MPs).


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