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Minister considers repeal of cohabitation law unconstitutional

Two women walking in Tallinn's Kadriorg Park. Photo is illustrative.
Two women walking in Tallinn's Kadriorg Park. Photo is illustrative. Source: (Postimees/Scanpix)

The proposal by the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) to repeal the Registered Partnership Act is unconstitutional and violates the principles of a social state based on the rule of law, Minister of Health and Labour Jevgeni Ossinovski (SDE) said.

In his opinion regarding the EKRE bill sent to the Government Office on Friday, Ossinovski said that Estonia is a state based on the rule of law, in which everyone must be ensured equal opportunities.

The aim of the cohabitation law is to provide same-sex families the chance to sign a cohabitation agreement and, through this, increase their sense of security regarding the realization of their personal and social freedoms and responsibilities. The state must ensure that the rights of minorities are protected.

"This is a question of human rights and equal treatment," said the Social Democratic minister. "The Constitution of Estonia forbids the majority's discrimination of the minority regardless of the basis or reasons. We must note that the claim of the initiators of the bill saying that most people in Estonia are against the equal treatment of same-sex couples is not correct."

The results of a recent survey conducted by the Estonian Human Rights Centre indicate that those opposed to the cohabitation law are a 45-percent minority in Estonian society. At the same time, attitudes toward same-sex families in Estonia have become more positive. This is why the Ministry of Social Affairs does not support EKRE's proposal.

"However, we are strongly calling for the Riigikogu to fulfill its constitutional responsibility by approving the implementing provisions of the Registered Partnership Act which will enable Estonian families the necessary legal clarity in managing their daily lives," Ossinovski noted.

The Registered Partnership Act was passed on Oct. 9, 2014 and entered into force on Jan. 1, 2016, but its implementing acts have yet to be adopted by the Riigikogu.

The first reading of the implementing provisions occurred on Nov. 25, 2015, after which it was decided that discussing the provisions would continue in the Legal Affairs Committee. There, the last debate concerning the provisions took place on Jan. 21, 2016.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

Source: BNS

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