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Riigikogu votes down bill to repeal Registered Partnership Act

Martin Helme, speaking in the Riigikogu before his party's latest anti-cohabitation bill was voted down, Oct. 17, 2017.
Martin Helme, speaking in the Riigikogu before his party's latest anti-cohabitation bill was voted down, Oct. 17, 2017. Source: (Riigikogu)

A bill initiated by the Estonian Conservative People’s Party (EKRE) was voted down by the Riigikogu on Tuesday that called for the repeal of the Registered Partnership Act.

The leading committee recommended to repeal EKRE’s bill. 47 members of the Riigikogu voted in favor, 19 were against such a step. There were 20 abstentions.

The vote split the parliamentary group of the Center Party, part of which voted in favor, others abstained.

Ten of the members for the Pro Patria and Res Publica Union (IRL) voted against the committee’s recommendation and thus in favor of continuing work on the bill.

The leading party in opposition, the Reform Party voted in favor of repealing the bill, with the exception of MP Igor Gräzin, who voted against such a step, and four other Reform MPs who abstained.

Only the Social Democrats and EKRE toed the respective party line, with the pro-cohabitation Social Democrats voting to push out the bill, and EKRE voting to keep it on.

Most of the members for the Free Party abstained, one voted in favor, one against pushing out the bill.

The two independents in the Riigikogu, former IRL members Margus Tsahkna and Marko Mihkelson, both voted in favor.

EKRE: Registered Partnership Act not needed

The bill represented the latest attempt of EKRE to get rid of the Registered Partnership Act. The act, though passed by the Riigikogu, is still lacking the necessary executive bylaws, and the current parliament is not showing the determination that would apparently be required to get the act to a point where it could enter into force.

Chairman of EKRE’s parliamentary group, Martin Helme, defended his party’s bill to repeal the Registered Partnership Act leading up to Tuesday’s vote. Helme said that the act had turned into a “catalyst of political process” in Estonia, working against all those who were trying to avoid taking a stand in the issue of the civil registration of same-sex couples.

EKRE’s point of view has been that no state regulation is necessary for a same-sex couple to live together, as there were other legal means by which material possession could be divided or arranged between two people.

“The Registered Partnership Act has never been a law that would have given rights or dealt with whatever kind of human rights,” Helme said. “It’s a project of ideological enforcement to push a foreign view onto society by force that goes against what is acceptable to the majority of the Estonian people.”

Editor: Dario Cavegn

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