SDE formally announces support for same-sex marriage

SDE board chair Eiki Nestor.
SDE board chair Eiki Nestor. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

The opposition Social Democratic Party (SDE) has formally announced its support of same-sex marriage.

After holding an online board meeting on Sunday, board chair Eiki Nestor said: "How else can you explain, with reasonable arguments, to two adult people who want to get married, that they do not have this right? You cannot do this."

The decision followed an announcement by SDE leader Indrek Saar late last week that the party would be reaching a formal position on the issue at the weekend.

The board found that given the importance of the issue of marriage equality and support via opinion polls and popular initiatives, the law has to go to the Riigikogu.

If the Riigikogu's board does not start to process a petition in support of same-sex marriage, then SDE says it will table the bill itself.

"In emphasizing the human aspect of marriage, SDE supports the right of everyone to marry someone that they love, and are in support of entering this into the Family Law Act," SDE board member Marju Lauristin said.

A recent petition initiated by the Estonian Greens has garnered over 34,000 signatures as of Monday morning, on the citizens' initiative website. The website itself states that petitions getting over 1,000 signatures in support should be debated at the Riigikogu, though ultimately it is up to the three-man Riigikogu board to decide this.

A planned referendum on the matter which would pose the question whether marriage should be defined in the constitution as between one man and one woman has been brought forward to spring, from its original scheduled date of autumn 2021.

The wording both of the vote – now referred to as a plebiscite (Estonian: Rahvaküsitlus) rather than a referendum (rahvahääletus ) – and of the question likely to be inserted, has been the subject of controversy, with doubts cast about its constitutionality in some quarters.

Helle-Moonika Helme, MP from the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) – which has sponsored the planned referendum on inserting the definition of marriage into the constitution and got the item into the coalition agreement signed between it, the Center Party and Isamaa in April 2019 – said last week that the referendum/plebiscite would contain no mention of the word "constitution" in the question posed.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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