Reform leader extends olive branch to prime minister on same-sex marriage ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Reform Party leader Kaja Kallas.
Reform Party leader Kaja Kallas. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Leader of the opposition Reform Party Kaja Kallas has reached out to Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center) on the issue of implementing an act which would grant same-sex couples legal recognition, as well as on foiling the planned referendum on the definition of marriage.

Kallas says she appreciates Ratas' stance on the matter, which is that the act, passed when Taavi Rõivas (Reform) was prime minister, needs to have the legislation passed which would bring it into full effect.

The law, the Registered Partnership Act, often referred to colloquially as the cohabitation act, has been mired since it passed, in part due to a difference of opinion on the issue between Center and their coalition partner, the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE).

Kallas: Estonia needs to finalize implementation of cohabitation act

"I commend the prime minister on his stance that Estonia should move towards the adoption of the implementing provisions of the Registered Partnership Act," Kallas wrote on her social media account Friday, BNS reports.

"Fulfilling the Registered Partnership Act is a step that Estonia needs," she went on, noting that Reform could cooperate on the issue at the Riigikogu.

"We know that the current government partners of the Center Party do not support standing up for the rights of minorities. Hence one could cooperate beyond the coalition in the Riigikogu on the subject of the Registered Partnership Act," Kallas went on, referring to both EKRE and Isamaa, the third coalition party.

Kallas: Many Center MPs share our, SDE's liberal values

Kallas added that Center has enough in common with the socially liberal values held by Reform and the Social Democratic Party (SDE), the other opposition party, to head off populist initiatives, by which she was referring to a planned vote on the definition of marriage which EKRE got into the coalition agreement with Center and Isamaa.

"At the same time, the opposition can lend the Center Party a helping hand in foiling the plebiscite on the topic of marriage. The ball is in the Center Party's court now. We hope that there will also be Center Party MPs among the initiators of the implementing provisions of the Registered Partnership Act," Kallas continued.

Prime Minister and Center chair Jüri Ratas told Delfi on Thursday that Estonia should move towards adopting the implementing provisions of the Registered Partnership Act. While EKRE not only opposes this but also wants to overturn the original act itself, Isamaa struck up a compromise position via its leader Helir-Valdor Seeder, calling for things to remain as they are.

Cohabitation act fell victim to change of coalition lineup way before 2019 election

Reform was in office with SDE and Isamaa when the original act was passed. Following a coup from the latter two parties via a vote of no confidence in Taavi Rõivas in November 2016, the latter was replaced by Jüri Ratas, and Reform found itself in opposition as Center entered government.

This lineup lasted, albeit with a Riigikogu minority towards the end, to the March 2019 general elections. Reform won the largest number of seats (34), but found itself locked out of coalition discussions then in progress between Center, Isamaa and EKRE, the current lineup. SDE also found itself out of office as it did not have enough seats (10) to get, with Reform, a majority 51 seats at the 101-seat chamber.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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