Top court: Registered partnerships must be added to population register

Baltic Pride in Tallinn in summer 2017.
Baltic Pride in Tallinn in summer 2017. Source: Joosep Nahkor/Tallinn Pride

The Supreme Court upheld a decision that registered partnerships must be added to the Population Register, putting them on an equal footing with marriage, Eesti Ekspress reported on Friday. The Ministry of Interior will also allow couples to take a common last name.

Judges rejected an appeal lodged by the Ministry of the Interior last summer, in relation to a case initially brought in 2020, over registered partnerships being entered into the register, Eesti Ekspress reported (link in Estonian).

Aili Kala, head of advocacy for the Estonian LGBT Association, explained that, by not entering the agreement into the state register, a cohabitation agreement was only recognized by the couple and not by the law or the most recent census.

She said the decision was "very important" but only one small element of the work that still needs to be done.

Problems continue to arise with the Registered Partnership Act as the Riigikogu has not passed its related implementation acts. This means gaps and loopholes in the legislation, which would be closed by the additional legislation, need to be decided in the courts.

Baltic Pride in Tallinn in summer 2017. Source: Joosep Nahkor/Tallinn Pride

Kala said the next big issue is same-sex couples being allowed to take a joint last name and that she knows of one case going to court.

But couples may not need to wait for the verdict, Eesti Ekspress wrote.

Inspired by the Supreme Court's decision, Minister of the Interior Lauri Läänemets (SDE) on Friday evening signed the minutes of meeting held on January 13.

"Result: married couples can take a common surname".

In 2019, EKRE and Isamaa ministers put forward legislation to amend the Names Act which would stop same-sex couples from being able to change their names. This was reversed by the Center Party in 2021.

Läänemets said the decision may not last long, as the next minister – elected in March – could retract the change.


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Editor: Merili Nael, Helen Wright

Source: Eesti Ekspress

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