Gender-Neutral Cohabitation Bill Submitted to Parliament
Forty MPs from three parliamentary factions today submitted a bill that regulates the financial, inheritance, and care and visitation rights for cohabiting couples regardless of their sex.
Submitting the bill, Reform Party’s Rait Maruste, who heads parliament’s Constitutional Committee, said that marriage remains an union between a man and a woman.
“You will not lose anything, nothing will be taken from you,” he assured. “The area of regulation of cohabitation goes beyond solving the problems of gays and lesbians. Even if we were to reduce the issue to that alone, which I think would be wrong, then people should understand that gays and lesbians were not transported to us from outer space, they are the children of our heterosexual parents.”
According to the latest census, there are 170,000 cohabitating couples in Estonia. The new law would help to regulate their rights, ensuring equal treatment for people who have registered their partnership, ETV reported on Tuesday.
Imre Sooäär from the Reform Party said earlier it is not a bill to legalize same-sex partnerships. Instead, the aim is to regulate the legal rights of unmarried couples, regardless of their sex.
He said that not unlike in general society, there is anxiety in parliament that the bill will change basic family values, but marriage will remain a union between a man and a woman.
Siim Kiisler from IRL said there are already laws that regulate the relations of unmarried couples, and wondered why people would wish to register their cohabitation but not get married.
Viktor Vassiljev from the Center Party said there are more important tasks to deal with, because the issue of same-sex couples probably interests “five percent of the population biologically, 10 percent socially”.
“I think the obligation of the state is to help its citizens to be free and happy, unless their happiness disturbs others. I see no reason why their happiness would disturb others, therefore I support this bill,” said Social Democrat Jaak Allik.