Riigikogu president: Constitution shouldn't define family
After Archbishop Urmas Viilma proposed that the Constitution should state that marriage is between one man and one woman, President of the Riigikogu Eiki Nestor (SDE) responded that not even the bible made such a specification, and neither should the Constitution.
Viilma, leader of the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church (EELK), brought up the issue during a church service on Thursday. He suggested the Constitution should be amended to include the statement that marriage is a union between one man and one woman, and that any other matter should then be regulated by law.
The speaker disagrees. Nestor is Estonia's longest-serving parliamentarian and has been a member of the Riigikogu since the early 1990s, when the current Constitution was adopted.
"People live their lives the way nature has created them," Nestor told BNS on Friday. "And it doesn't really matter to two people who live happily together what is written in the Constitution. Several churches in different countries are honoring people's wishes and register the marriages of same-sex couples. The honorable archbishop sees that the same issue is in the air also in Estonia. The Constitution should not be included in a discussion taking place in the church. It is not polite," Nestor said.
Viilma responded to Nestor's comment on Friday on social media, saying he was "glad" that Nestor has joined the conversation. "Then maybe we can move forward with a healthy and respectful discussion," he wrote said. "Unfortunately, I don't know who quoted my speech to the honorable speaker in such a way that I made a proposal to define family. This was not in my speech. My proposal was to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman. And marriage is clearly defined in the Bible," Viilma said. He added that in his opinion, it is rather rude if today's secular civil society tries to change the definition without considering Christians.
The Estonian parliament passed the gender-neutral Registered Partnership Act in 2014, and the law entered into effect in early 2016. The implementing provisions or amendments to other laws that are necessary for all the possibilities offered by the act to actually become a reality still need to be adopted by the Riigikogu, an effort that several parties and MPs have blocked.
Editor: Dario Cavegn