SDE has not reached common position on Family Law Act petition

The Social Democratic Party (SDE) has not yet reached a common position on the petition initiated by the Greens to change the Family Law to allow same-sex marriage.

While many members of the SDE have signed the petition, party chairman Indrek Saar told ERR that he had not signed it himself and had not yet decided whether he would do so.

He said discussions are taking place within the party, but no common position on the petition has been agreed yet.

Saar said there are many different views within the party, such as those who support marriage equality or others who believe that the implementing acts of the Cohabitation Act should be adopted first.

"As we are a democratic organization, and a large organization, this issue definitely must be discussed. It is not like in any other party where the leader says that it has been decided and everyone follows," Saar said.

He also emphasized that it must not be forgetten where this whole topic had originated.

"The biggest threat at the moment, where it all started and where the government threatens us today, is the referendum in the spring. It will turn us back in time from a human rights perspective," Saar said.

Riina Sikkut, member of the SDE Board and the Riigikogu faction, told ERR she had signed the petition.

"The question here is whether a member of the Riigikogu should sign a petition which is intended for the Riigikogu anyway. But it is still has a symbolic value or position. It shows whether people are for or against the government, for example," Sikkut explained.

Riina Sikkut (SDE). Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Sikkut said there are different views in each party, but many SDE members have already said that they are in favor of marriage equality.

Sikkut said the party's program, which was prepared before the previous Riigikogu elections, includes support for the adoption of the implementing acts of the Cohabitation Act, but the definition of the concept of marriage was not yet on the agenda at that time and so is not included.

"We are still debating technical issues, which would be the right thing to do, but / --- / we will get to this discussion one way or another, due to this referendum and now also on the petition," Sikkut said.

A petition put forward by the Estonian Greens at the weekend on the Citizen Initiative Portal has been signed by more than 32,000 people of Wednesday morning.

It proposed that the Family Law, which states marriage can only be between a man and a woman, should be changed. It is by far the most signed petition in the history of the Citizen Initiative Portal website.

Earlier this week, leaders of the Reform and Social Democratic parties said they would not add their signatures despite both arguing the referendum should not take place.

As it has gathered over 1,000 signatures it will be presented to the Riigkogu for debate.

EKRE want to hold a referendum next year, in the spring, regarding adding a definition of marriage as between one man and one woman to the constitution.

The Cohabitation Act was passed by the Riigikogu in 2015 but the implementing acts needed to regulate it have still not been passed. The act recognises civil partnerships in law, including same-sex partnerships.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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