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Government declines to express opinion on abolishing civil partnership act

Wedding band. Photo is illustrative.
Wedding band. Photo is illustrative. Source: (AP/Scanpix)

The Estonian government did not express an opinion at its Thursday meeting regarding a bill which seeks to abolish the Registered Partnership Act.

On Thursday, the government opened for discussion an item on the agenda concerning expressing an opinion regarding a bill of the opposition Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) which seeks to aboolish the gender-neutral Registered Partnership Act. The government decided not to present its opinion, however, spokespeople for the government said.

Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center) said at Thursday's government press conference that three ministries submitted their position regarding the bill: the Ministry of the Interior and Ministry of Social Affairs did not support the repeal bill, while it was supported by the Ministry of Justice.

As the three parties making up the current government coalition have different positions regarding the issue, the government decided not to express its opinion regarding the bill.

Ratas did say, however, that the Registered Partnership Act was discussed during coalitions talks in November.

The bill was submitted by EKRE on May 15. According to the bill's covering letter, there were not enough votes in the previous Riigikogu to properly adopt the Registered Partnership Act and the adoption of its implementing provisions of the law has also halted in the current Riigikogu.

Minister of Justice Urmas Reinsalu (IRL) supports EKRE's bill, saying that the law has resulted in legal unclarity.

Secretary General of the Center Party Mihhail Korb said that his party has more important issues to solve and there is no unity within the current government coalition regarding the issue. "The opinion of the the party's MPs can be seen most clearly when the votes are cast," he said on Tuesday.

Reinsalu's position was criticized by Minister of Foreign Affairs Sven Mikser (SDE), who called it a "lone populistic cry."

Registered partnership legislation passed, implementing acts still not adopted

While Estonia does not allow same-sex marriages, it recognizes same-sex marriages concluded elsewhere. The country's own gender-neutral Registered Partnership Act was passed on Oct. 9, 2014 — nearly three years ago — and entered into force on Jan. 1, 2016 — over a year and a half ago — however its implementing acts have yet to be adopted by the Riigikogu.

The first reading of the act's implementing provisions took place on Nov. 25, 2015, after which it was decided that discussion of the provisions would continue in the Legal Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu, where the most recent discussion on the matter took place on Jan. 21, 2016.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

Source: BNS

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