The Legal Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu decided to send to its first reading a bill initiated by the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) parliamentary group repealing the Registered Partnership Act.
"We decided to send the bill to the plenary session so that all politicians could vote on the issue according to their conscience," Legal Affairs Committee chairman Jaanus Karilaid (Center) was quoted by Riigikogu spokespeople as saying. "The committee's Thursday decision is also in keeping with the Riigikogu Rules of Procedure and Internal Rules Act.
Altogether seven committee members voted in favor of the decision, while four members who participated in the meeting did not participate in the vote.
EKRE parliamentary group chairman Martin Helme said on social media that MPs from the Pro Patria and Res Publica Union (IRL), the Center Party and the Social Democratic Party (SDE) voted in favor of putting the bill to its first reading.
According to the Riigikogu Rules of Procedure and Internal Rules Act, the first reading of a bill must be carried out within seven work weeks of the plenary Riigikogu since the bill was taken into consideration. The bill in question must thus be put to first reading during the fourth week of the fall term at the latest.
The bill's cover letter said that the aim of the law is to terminate confusion caused by the law, which may violate the principle of legitimate expectation and in relation to that may cause a number of judicial decisions and expenses to the taxpayers.
The first reading of the law to repeal the Registered Partnership Act is to take place in the Riigikogu on Oct. 12. The committee's proposal is to reject the bill during the first reading.
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