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Position voted down that Registered Partnership Act never came into force

Liisa Oviir (SDE).
Liisa Oviir (SDE). Source: (Siim Lõvi/ERR)

The Riigikogu's Constitutional Committee voted down the point of view of the Pro Patria and Res Publica Union (IRL) that the Registered Partnership Act never entered into force. The committee took up the matter after the Supreme Court requested it review the act for its constitutionality.

In connection with a specific case, the Supreme Court had earlier asked the committee to look into the matter of the implementing provisions of the Registered Partnership Act and to submit its opinion on its constitutionality.

The case concerns the claim that as the act's implementing legislation was never adopted, the lasting lack of legal clarity in the matter of the registration of same-sex couples goes against constitutional requirements.

The act itself was adopted by the Riigikogu in October 2014 and entered into force on Jan. 1, 2016. But so far the Riigikogu hasn't been able to agree on the act's implementing provisions. The law is seen as controversial, as it grants same-sex partnerships the same legal status as heterosexual couples enjoy it, and its opponents have been slowing down its implementations by refusing to adopt the necessary provisions in parliament.

An adviser submitted a possible position of the committee that was backed by IRL. According to the opinion expressed in it, § 26 of the Registered Partnership Act explicitly states that the law "enters into force on 1 January 2016 together with implementing legislation".

As the implementing legislation had not been adopted by Jan. 1, 2016, the law thus never entered into force, as it wasn't complete and hence couldn't be seen as constitutional.

Still, since January 2016 numerous partnerships have been registered based on the act, and courts have handed down decisions based on it as well, chairwoman of the committee Liisa Oviir (SDE) pointed out. "Neither the chancellor of justice nor the courts have questioned the law's entering into force," she added.

As they couldn't come to an agreement in the matter, Oviir decided to put the issue to a vote, following which the committee voted down the adviser's position on Thursday.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

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