Karnau: Marriage plebiscite to create confusion

Andrus Karnau
Andrus Karnau Source: ERR Kairit Leibold

Because it remains unclear how the result of the marriage plebiscite will affect the Estonian legal environment, it currently only serves to create more confusion," journalist Andrus Karnau said on the "Olukorrast riigis" talk show.

The host of the Raadio 2 show said on Sunday that the most important message so far from the coalition has been that the Constitution will not be amended, even though the coalition agreement states that the people will be consulted regarding a constitutional amendment on the definition of marriage. This has rendered the situation confusing.

"The main problem with a referendum or a plebiscite is that I cannot understand what it is we will be voting over. If at first, there was talk of a constitutional amendment, at least we understood what the government wanted to ask the people. What it is they are asking today, I cannot understand," Karnau said.

"I could understand the impulse to amend the Constitution as that would stop the Riigikogu from changing the law without amending the Constitution again first. But this illusion of a double shield regarding which I cannot understand whether it has legal form – I find it to be a very poor solution," the host added.

Karnau said that it remains unclear what the result of the plebiscite would even mean.

"Irrespective of the result, it remains unclear how it should affect the legal environment in Estonia – what to do with that result? This uncertainty manufactures confusion. I find this kind of confusion and creation of double institutions to be highly unfortunate as it erodes trust in legal institutions and confuses voters," Karnau explained.

He noted that should the result come back not to the coalition's liking – should the people decide that marriage should not only be between a man and a woman – a new set of problems will be created. "Supposedly, the Riigikogu should then amend the Family Act. But looking at the current composition of the parliament, I do not think they are willing to do that. Which will leave us with a different kind of deadlock. By asking people something I don't understand and regarding which it is unclear what the answer would mean, an absurd situation is created," Karnau said.

Co-host Harry Tuul said that perhaps the confusion is intentional. "Perhaps it is a mine we're sitting on to make sure this topic would stay on the agenda for good," he noted.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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