Marriage referendum to bring SAPTK campaign ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Varro Vooglaid at a SAPTK-organized protest.
Varro Vooglaid at a SAPTK-organized protest. Source: Anna Aurelia Minev/ERR

Around €2 million have been earmarked for the controversial marriage referendum in next year's state budget that roughly corresponds to the sum set aside for holding local elections. It remains unclear how much different sides' campaigns will cost.

Minister of Finance Martin Helme (EKRE) said that the state will hold the referendum but will not be financing the campaign, "Aktuaalne kaamera" reported on Saturday.

"It is the state's business the count the votes and organize the election. I'm sure campaigns will be pursued by parties and interest groups. It cannot be up to the state to tell citizens where they stand," Helme explained.

Estonia's ruling coalition recently decided to move up to spring the referendum that was initially meant to coincide with local government council election in the fall of 2021. Chairman of the Foundation for the Protection of the Family and Tradition (SAPTK) Varro Vooglaid said that first, people need to be told about the idea of the referendum.

"Next, it is very important to motivate people to participate and contribute to marriage remaining a union between a man and a woman in Estonia," Vooglaid said.

He said that the campaign will include elements of social media, debates and mass mailing to reach every person. Vooglaid could not say how much the campaign could end up costing.

"First, we need to decide what it is we will be doing exactly. Everyone knows the prices of mass mailing. Everyone can ask Omniva what it costs to send a letter to 100,000 or 300,000 households. We would ideally like to reach every household of which we have over 500,000 in Estonia. I'm sure it will not be cheap," Vooglaid said.

The SAPTK chairman added that plans will become more concrete once the date of the referendum is set. The Estonian LGBT Society has not yet decided whether to campaign and how and first wants to know the exact phrasing of the referendum question.

"We really have not plotted a course for how we will go about it yet. Our message will be aimed at justice and equality," said Kristel Rannaääre, executive manager of the society.

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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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