Legal expert: Proposed plebiscite questions not suitable and unclear ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Paloma Krõõt Tupay.
Paloma Krõõt Tupay. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

The initial proposed questions for the plebiscite on the concept of marriage are not suitable and politicians must state clearly if they want a plebiscite or a vague public survey, constitutional law expert Paloma Krõõt Tupay said.

The former presidential adviser told ETV's daily affairs show "Aktuaalne kaamera" on Thursday: "A plebiscite as it is stated in the Constitution is legally binding and must show what the public wants. If the questions proposed [Thursday] are asked, it will lead to ambiguity."

Riigikogu democracy working group member Andrei Korobeinik (Center) told ERR on Thursday the plebiscite on the concept of marriage may take place at the end of April 2021.

"Does the Republic of Estonia recognize marriage as a union between a man and a woman exclusively?" or "Does marriage in the Republic of Estonia constitute as a bond between a man and a woman exclusively?" These are the two initial wording options for the marriage referendum, currently awaiting legal advice.

Korobeinik said the plebiscite will not hold legal weight but the question posed cannot be contrary to legislation.

Tupay said her students at Tartu University asked her if the questions proposed are talking about the Registered Partnership Act that defines marriage as an union between a man and a woman.

The law expert said: "If we ask for the public's stance, we must do it in a way that is not unclear or directed. So the public can trully develop their own viewpoint. I think we must ask for both the questions if they are clear, if they are not biased and if they give a person the ability to choose freely?"

Tupay also nted that politicians must clearly state if they want a constitutional plebiscite or public survey.

She said: "Heads of state must say what it is they want done. We have a Constitution that acknowledges the institution of a plebiscite. But the Constitution also clearly states that the result of a plebiscite asking for a matter of public life is legally binding."

Tupay continued: "It is unclear what the goal of the plebiscite is. If they truly mean an Emor-like (a polling company - ed.) public survey, we can leave that task for Emor or Norstat and let them investigate. But a public survey organised by public authorities is not in our legislation."

The consitutional law expert added that the Supreme Court has said that same-sex couples also have the fundamental right for protection and equal treatment, which means marriages conducted outside of Estonia should be treated the same way as marriages conducted here.

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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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