Indrek Kiisler: Registered Partnership Act provisions could wait

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Indrek Kiisler. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Existing and incoming leaders would do well to keep a cool head instead of gloating and passing judgment. The implementing provisions of the Registered Partnership Act will be passed sooner or later, while no one is in such a hurry to warrant doing it right away, Indrek Kiisler writes.

I wrote a short opinion piece in July in which I proposed canceling the planned marriage referendum in the interests of peace. Naturally, that did not happen.

The last six months have only added to emotions, anger and anxiety in society. That layer is now thicker than the snowdrifts outside. The emotional tapestry is still there and cannot be rolled up any time soon.

The Riigikogu very likely has enough votes to pass the implementing provisions of the Registered Partnership Act. Both [Reform Party leader] Kaja Kallas and [Center Party chairman] Jüri Ratas could put pressure on undecided MPs in their factions. The opposition Social Democratic Party (SDE) also supports passing the provisions. Therefore, getting 51 votes would not take long.

However, the experiment could be postponed.

What did we learn from the marriage debate and corresponding polls?

They clearly showed that ours is a society sporting a post-Soviet mentality, which fact was effectively made use of by the Conservative People's Party (EKRE) and Isamaa. Flirting with the opponents of the Registered Partnership Act could now be turning into a Pyrrhic victory for the latter. There is a risk of Isamaa disappearing from the political landscape as they are forced to share the opposition with the more radical national conservatives.

Parties come and go, but hundreds of thousands of people who have been riled up in defense of the sanctity of marriage are not going anywhere. They haven't even fully realized what happened this week or what the mutual rediscovery of two major parties preaching liberalism will bring.

After the initial shock passes, there will be anxiety and anger. Fueled by gloating and displays of superiority by the liberals, it can only have one consequence – continued emotional head-on collisions in society.

Right now is the moment where new and existing leaders should keep a cool head and refrain from gloating, ridicule and judgment. I very much expect our president to reach out also to people who feel they have been betrayed in the final hour and their ideals are being trampled in the mud.

Fierce proponents of the Registered Partnership Act can take solace in knowing that Estonia is on a steady course toward the liberal waters of the West despite the curses of the faithful, conservative hardliners and those besieged by Soviet nostalgia. That is to say the implementing provisions will be passed sooner of later. However, no one is in such a hurry to warrant doing it immediately.

And yet, there are people trying to set fire to the entire nation using an imaginary revolutionary flame. There is no other way to describe the Board of the Riigikogu entering into proceedings a bill by 19 MPs that, among other things, aims to draw an equals sign between a registered partnership agreement and marriage. The initiators know perfectly well that the bill will not become law, while the temptation to put the wind up is just too strong.

Fists need to be put down after the fight has ended, especially if one has spent the entire conflict talking about love, tolerance and mutual understanding.

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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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