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Cohabitation Bill Debate Heats Up With Protest and Pro-Campaign

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Hundreds of people showed up for a protest against the Cohabitation Act in front of the Parliament building in Tallinn on Sunday, while many public figures have spoken out supporting the bill, which would allow cohabitating couples, regardless of sexual orientation or gender, more equal legal protection.

The protest, organized by the Foundation for the Protection of Family and Tradition, was the largest demonstration in Estonia this year. Demonstrators told that their lives would most likely not change is the draft law is passed, but they are worried for society.

“The accepting of the bill would be part of a larger attempt to disfigure the moral basis of our society and it would not stop with this law. We gathered here to send the politicians a clear message – the Estonian people will not accept humiliation, the destruction of our cultural traditions [...]” Varro Vooglaid, the head of the foundation, said.

The pro-camp

Many well-known people in the country posted videos on a pro-cohabitation website, and on social media.

“I was surprised by the reaction. We live in a world with many problems, and suddenly one law – a law which in my opinion mainly belongs to someone else – has created so much resistance,” David Vseviov, a historian, said.

Others who posted support videos included singer Ivo Linna, producer and comedian Eino Baskin, former football player Mart Poom and actors Evelin and Priit Võigemast.

A social media campaign has gathered the support of 16,500 people as of Monday morning.

The bill will go through a second reading on Tuesday.

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