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EELK council supports amending Constitution to define marriage

Archbishop Urmas Viilma (EELK).
Archbishop Urmas Viilma (EELK). Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

The Council of the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church (EELK) in a vote on Tuesday approved a statement according to which the EELK supports the amendment of the Estonian Constitution to define marriage as a union between one man and one woman.

39 of those present at the council voted in favor of the statement; five were against it, and four abstained.

The statement explained that family is currently under attack: on one side, it is being threatened by the abuse of misunderstood freedom, and on the other, some want to redefine publicly contracted marriage to include unions other than those between one man and one woman.

According to Archbishop Urmas Viilma, this change to the Constitution would mean a sense of security for Christians.

"What will improve is that we know that we have a sense of security," Viilma told ERR's radio news on Tuesday. "When a man and a woman stand before the altar, where marriage is talked about, then they will know as they leave the church that the marriage they concluded in the church is just as significant then as when they exit the church."

He added, however, that this wasn't a pressuring tactic, but rather for themselves in the church. "So that we know where we are; that we continue to be supported by the same principles that the EELK has been supportedby; and that today's vote provides a sense of security," Viilma explained.

The archbishop told ERR last week that this was a statement of support, but added that the church itself would not submit a proposal to the Riigikogu to amend the Constitution.

Salumäe: Church shouldn't force marriage views on others

According to Mart Salumäe, a representative of the EELK's North American deanery, however, the church should not force its views onto others.

"The church is just going along with the same hysteria over marriage and family-related topics that sprang up in Estonian society some time ago," Salumäe said. "And unfortunately, in light of today's decision, the church doesn't have much anything balancing or calming to offer people in this hysteria."

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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