Madise: Plebiscite cannot result in repeal of Registered Partnership Act

Chancellor of Justice Ülle Madise.
Chancellor of Justice Ülle Madise. Source: Anna Aurelia Minev/ERR

The plebiscite on the topic of marriage cannot result in the repeal of the Registered Partnership Act, Estonia's Chancellor of Justice Ülle Madise said on Thursday.

The chancellor of justice said the question to be asked in the plebiscite must be consistent with the Constitution, it must be clear and must not mislead or direct. Also, both answers, yes and no, must provide a result that is constitutional and enables Estonia to continue fulfilling the international obligations assumed with treaties, Madise wrote on social media. 

The chancellor of justice observed that the Constitution allows the institution of marriage to be kept as it is, as a union between a man and a woman, and neither international law nor European Union law demands that marriage between people of the same sex must be permitted. 

"The consequence of the plebiscite cannot be, however, a repeal of the Registered Partnership Act or, in certain cases, the non-recognition of marriages concluded abroad," the chancellor of justice said.

She added that an analysis of the decision can be started when the decision has been initiated in the Riigikogu, and members of the Riigikogu are entitled to make amendments to the draft. The eventual stance of the chancellor of justice will be formed after the adoption of the decision of the plebiscite. 

"Based on current knowledge, I cannot agree with the opinion of those who claim that our Constitution in practice precludes plebiscites on matters of the life of the state. The Constitution sets forth a plebiscite both on a legislative draft as well as on a matter of the life of the state, the decision of the people is binding. The Constitution must not be interpreted to the point where it is void of content," the chancellor of justice said.

"The wording of the question indeed has to be set out as a result of nationwide disputes and disputes in the Riigikogu, this is a natural part of the conduct of a plebiscite. Probably it isn't even possible to ask a question that is without error for everyone. It is so in other countries as well," the chancellor of justice added.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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