Prime minister leaves cohabitation status open for next parliament ({{commentsTotal}})

Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre).
Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre). Source: Anna Aurelia Minev/ERR

Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre) reportedly did not present a clear response to a parliamentary question put to him on the status of legal cohabitation of same-sex couples in Estonia.

Mr Ratas had been asked the question by a member of the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE). The Registered Partnership Act 2014, aimed at making cohabitation a legal fact, is still somewhat up in the air. This is partly because the necessary implementing acts have not been passed, though in 2018 the Supreme Court ruled that its tenets were part of the existing legal order in Estonia. This in effect makes the status of legally-recognised same-sex partnerships an ambiguous area.

MP Jaak Madison (EKRE) reportedly asked Ratas what Centre means by the sentence: "We support people's fundamental rights and the freedom to live together in different family models," in its political program.

BNS has provided a verbatim translation of Mr Ratas' answer to Mr Madison's question as follows:

"In Estonia, we can see today that there are single parents; we can see that there are in Estonia families with two parents, we can see that there are in Estonia blended families, etc''.

''And under no circumstances will I agree to categorise it this way: That there are in Estonia 'right' families and then there are 'wrong' families, or right family models and wrong family models, this is not right''.

''I am also completely against the kind of sentence which, if I am not mistaken, belongs to Martin Helme, fellow member of your party, chairman of the parliamentary group, who has said that a childless woman of 27 is an element harmful to society. I am completely against that, I find it dreadful, I cross out that sentence''. 

''Or that we can classify families somehow in a manner that, when there are that many children, then these are 'right' families. I believe it is very bad when such things are done in society. To respond to your question, which you brought at the end of your big tirade, when it comes to the implementing provisions, then I am absolutely certain that this composition of the Riigikogu will not solve that issue and it will remain to be solved by the 14th Riigikogu [ie. after the March election-ed.]," Mr Ratas said, referring to the parliament's inability to adopt the implementing provisions of the Registered Partnership Act''. 

Speaking on an earlier vote on the so-called cohabitation law in the Riigikogu, Mr Ratas said that the board of the Centre Party left MPs the freedom to decide themselves whether to support the revocation of the Registered Partnership Act or not.

The general election is on 3 March.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte



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