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First same-sex couples submit marriage applications in Estonia

Wedding rings.
Wedding rings. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

Several couples have already applied to get married after same-sex marriage was legalized in Estonia on January 1. The first ceremonies will likely take place in February.

Tuesday's "Aktuaalne kaamera" spoke to Janek and Saša who live in Estonia and have been together for seven years.

The couple has dreamed of getting married for several years and plans to submit their marriage application soon.

"We planned a wedding and things like that a few years ago. I proposed to him [Janek] and he agreed. We were waiting for this law," said Saša. The pair have already chosen a date for their wedding.

But several other couples have beaten Janek and Saša to it.

Tallinn Vital Statistics Office on Pärnu mnt., a popular wedding venue. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Since the turn of the year, half of the submitted marriage applications have come from same-sex couples, data from the Tallinn Vital Statistics Office shows.

Kristi Kail, head of the office, said: "From then until now, we have received 16 marriage applications, of which eight are from same-sex couples."

The state insists couples wait a month between filing their application and getting married, which means the first weddings can take place in February. This process can be sped up if there is a good reason, but it must be agreed upon by both a notary and civil servants.

The Tallinn Vital Statistics Office also has new gender-neutral marriage application forms. Applications can be made in person or online. 

"There are two sets of forms, one as there used to be, submitted by a man and a woman, the other submitted by partner one and partner two. What is different for same-sex couples is that if they have a cohabitation agreement in the past, they do not have to terminate the previous cohabitation," Kail said.

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Editor: Barbara Oja, Helen Wright

Source: Aktuaalne kaamera

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