Archbishop Urmas Viilma, head of the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church, has proposed amending the Constitution to make it state that a marriage is a union between one man and one woman, and regulating other partnerships with a special law.
"I'm asking all the parties to this argument and confrontation to seriously weigh without prejudice the proposal to amend the Constitution of the Republic of Estonia by adding a provision which clearly defines marriage as a union concluded exclusively between one man and one woman," Viilma said on Thursday, adding that concluding a societal agreement between very different sides, political parties and institutions, and organizations is a prerequisite for making this work.
"A societal agreement will allow us to bring peace to society is such a way that those fearing the concept of traditional marriage becoming blurred will no longer have to worry, and at the same time, sexual minorities will no longer have reason to feel like secondary citizens in society, as they will get the assurance that their cohabitation will become legally valid and they will be ensured the civil rights for which they have felt the need to safely organize their cohabitation thus far," the archbishop said.
"My dream is that society would be healed again," Viilma added.
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 — over three years ago — and entered into force on Jan. 1, 2016 — nearly two years 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.
The most recent bill to repeal the Registered Partnership Act was introduced in the Riigikogu by the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) in October, but was voted down on Oct. 17.
Editor: Aili Vahtla