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President chides MPs for shunning Partnership Act's implementing provisions

President Kersti Kaljulaid speaking at the opening fall session of the Riigikogu on Monday. Sept. 11, 2017.
President Kersti Kaljulaid speaking at the opening fall session of the Riigikogu on Monday. Sept. 11, 2017. Source: (Liis Treimann/Postimees/Scanpix)

Addressing lawmakers at the fall opening session of the Riigikogu on Monday, President Kersti Kaljulaid was critical of the Riigikogu's failure to address the implementing provisions of the gender-neutral Registered Partnership Act, which was passed in October 2014 and entered into force on Jan. 1, 2016.

The president said that lawmakers, who have thus far been unwilling to open the procedure of the implementing provisions, have not had enough of a sense of responsibility to ensure that the Registered Partnership Act is properly implemented.

"You, members of the Riigikogu, are the legislator," she said. "You are responsible for the fact that the legislation was right and fair, clear and trustworthy. To promise on paper to defend rights such as cohabitation in a situation in which there is not enough willingness or sense of responsibility to ensure their implementation is shirking of responsibility. The constitution of the Soviet Union, by the way, also pledged on paper to defend freedom of expression and freedom of thought."

Kaljulaid said that it can be hoped, of course, that the courts will come to the people's aid in this matter to ensure the functioning of the rule of law. "They will indeed, but this cannot cover up the erosion of legal certainty," she noted.

Delay of implementing acts measurable in years

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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