Relationships between two adults should not be regulated, Priit Sibul, MP of the junior partner in the government coalition Isamaa, said at panel discussion of a Fathers' Day conference entitled "Why Get Married?" held in Tallinn's Ülemiste City district on Wednesday.
"Society was turned upside down with the Registered Partnership Act," Sibul said. "Changing the institution of marriage has been the ultimate goal of this, but it should not be changed. I do not support same-sex marriage. For me, marriage is an institution based on tradition, which is why we're having this discussion today about the need to defend marriage in the Constitution. The Family Law Act stipulates that marriage is between a man and a woman. I deem it unreasonable that the state should try to regulate everything. There should be as few regulations as possible. It is important for us as a nation state that the family should remain the pillar of the society, and the union of a man and a woman is the only natural union capable of producing children."
MP of the opposition Reform Party Signe Riisalu wanted to know if a referendum on marriage is indeed the top priority amid the current coronavirus crisis and economic downturn. The best guarantee for marriage between a man and a woman is the adoption of implementing provisions of the Registered Partnership Act, she said.
"Together with the issue of same-sex couples, the issue of regulating relations between people who do not wish to marry but are living together was also on the table. This is why the discussions kicked off in 2008. I am a keen advocate for granting people the right for equal opportunities," Riisalo noted, adding that marriage should provide equal protection to both opposite-sex and same-sex couples.
Entrepreneur Urve Palo, a former ministers for the SDE, said the adoption of the Registered Partnership Act was rushed.
"Today's far-right party would not have emerged as strong if there had not been the adoption of the Registered Partnership Act dividing the society - we should have taken more time for it. I support that adults should be able to get married regardless of their gender - they have always been and will always be in our society. If they are granted this right, they can be happy, and we're not depriving anyone of anything. If a part of the society can be happy and no other part is deprived of their happiness, the entire society will be happy," she said.
Speakers at the conference included Minister of Population Riina Solman, public relations specialist Janek Mäggi, literary scholar Maarja Vaino, journalist Anna-Maria Veidemann-Makko and Pastor Meego Remmel. Participants in the panel discussion on marriage included Riisalo, Sibul and Palo. The event was moderated by Hannes Hermaküla.
The conference is organized by the nonprofit SA Väärtustades Elu and supported by Pere Sihtkapital, a foundation focusing on the family.
Editor: Helen Wright