Estonian Greens surprised by SDE reaction to Family Law petition ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Züleyxa Izmailova.
Züleyxa Izmailova. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

The co-leader of the Estonian Greens Züleyxa Izmailova said it came as a surprise that neither the Reform Party nor the Social Democrats (SDE) have agreed to sign a petition to change the Family Law in favor of same-sex marriage put forward by the Greens.

Speaking on ERR's live broadcast "Otse uudistemajast" on Wednesday, Izmailova said this was a surprise. "We didn't expect such a reaction, to be honest. Especially as far as the Social Democrats are concerned, we were expecting a different reaction," she said.

A petition put forward by the Estonian Greens at the weekend on the Citizen Initiative Portal rahvaalgatus.ee has been signed by more than 32,000 people of Wednesday morning. But earlier this week, leaders of the Reform and Social Democratic parties said they would not add their signatures.

It is by far the most signed petition in the website's history and wants the Family Law, which states marriage can only be between a man and a woman, to be changed. EKRE want to hold a referendum on the subject next year.

Izmailova expressed hope that the opposition parties are still planning to sign the petition. It is not sensible to make its decisions only according to support ratings, she said.

"Is it more important than what message they send to society today, whether people's safety is less important than their support ratings? In my opinion, they are not even comparable," Izmailova said.

Izmailova suggested the petition could mobilize people if a referendum on the definition of marriage takes place next year. She said people want to see a different Estonia and are disappointed by the current government.

In general, Izmailova is in favor of referendums and said a vote on Rail Baltic, for example, would be completely welcome.

"But when it comes to people's bedrooms, these aren't issues that other people can decide. I'm not in favor of that," she said.

In addition to the pandemic, there is also a climate crisis

Izmailova said a recent study by the Ministry of the Environment shows that Estonians are not very environmentally conscious, but it can be assumed that talking about this topic will become increasingly important in the future.

She said the party needs to make people more aware of its outlook.

"I don't think we have reached our constituents... Many of us [Estonians] may not have been aware that we are a party worth considering for a parliamentary election," Izmailova said of the recent 2019 elections, where the party gained less than the 5 percent support needed to be represented in the Riigikogu.

Pointing out things which need to be changed, Izmailova mentioned Tallinn's transport system which is not sustainable and said more use should be made of public transport and bicycles.

"I know a lot of drivers who don't really want to drive that much and don't want to have a car at all. But unfortunately, the situation is that in order to get to work or take children to school, they have to use a car," said Izmailova.

In addition, attention must also be paid to the energy sector and more investments made in wind and solar energy, she said.

Izmailova said her experience as the deputy mayor of Tallinn has also given her management experience.

"The Greens were able to implement a lot of their ideas. It is much better to still be in power and exercise your worldview than to criticize the existing power from outside the Riigikogu," the chairman said. 

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Editor: Helen Wright

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