Ratas would not add concept of marriage to constitution

Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center).
Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center). Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center) said the government has not formed a unified position for writing marriage as a union between a man and a woman in the constitution. He said he does not consider it personally necessary.

Responding to a question from the Social Democrats (SDE), he wrote: "The government has not formed a common position on this issue. My personal position is that the wording of the concept of marriage in the Family Law (Perekonnaseadus) is sufficient."

Members of the SDE faction of the Riigikogu Indrek Saar, Jaak Juske, Helmen Kütt, Heljo Pikhof, Katri Raik, Riina Sikkut and Raimond Kaljulaid sent the written question to Ratas about the organization of a potential referendum which would take place next year alongside the local elections.

It was also asked why the government wants to hold a referendum on the same day as the local elections.

Ratas replied holding a referendum on the institution of marriage at the same time as the local elections has been agreed in the coalition agreement.

Isamaa chairman Helir-Valdor Seeder, told ERR on June 9 the parties were ready to fulfill the coalition agreement, but the necessary preparations had not yet been made.

In a letter sent to the Minister of Finance Martin Helme earlier this month, the chairman of the National Electoral Committee Oliver Kask said preparations for holding local elections in 2021 at the same time as the referendum must start this summer.

Politicians from the Estonian Conservative People's Party (EKRE) have previously said they want to hold a referendum on the Registered Partnership Act, also known as the Cohabitation Act, at the same time as the 2021 local elections.

The Registered Partnership Act allows non-married couples to legally register their partnership. The gender-neutral legislation, which was passed in 2015, establishes a legal situation similar to a civil partnership. Same-sex couples cannot get legally married in Estonia but same-sex couples can register their partnerships under the Registered Partnership Act.

EKRE want the definition of marriage defined as being between a man and woman added to the constitution.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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