Kiik on LGBT funding: Government should not persecute individual groups

Minister of Social Affairs Tanel Kiik
Minister of Social Affairs Tanel Kiik Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

In response to comments made by the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) objecting to state funding being spent on LGBT projects, Minister of Social Affairs Tanel Kiik (Centre) said the government should not persecute individual communities.

Website Delfi wrote on Thursday, Oct. 10 that the editor-in-chief of the Objektiiv portal, Varro Vooglaid, who is also head of the Foundation for the Protection of Family and Tradition (SAPTK), has launched a campaign with the foundation demanding that Kiik and the ministry stop giving funds to the LGBT community.

Vooglaid substantiates his petition by claiming that LGBT activists have been working with a girl for several years who now wants a gender reassignment operation, Delfi said

On Friday, website Objektiiv and EKRE's Uued Uudised portal reported Minister of Finance and party deputy chairman Martin Helme of EKRE saying that "financing radical groups that split society is absolutely unacceptable to EKRE". Helme was referring primarily to the Estonian LGBT community, ERR reported.

"It is especially grotesque that these same activists are the most ardent anti-government demonstrators. They also sometimes secretly, sometimes more openly, oppose government policy as government officials," Helme is quoted as saying by Objektiiv.

The article says money is directed to LGBT groups above others and Helme says Kiik could change the rules if he wanted to. The article said that in 2013 €6,000 had been earmarked for LGBT projects but this year it was €96,000.

Population Minister Riina Solman (Isamaa) told Delfi on Thursday she understood Vooglaid's argument and thought the state should not fund anyone's ideologies, and that NGO funding should be evenly distributed.

Kiik said in an interview with Delfi on Saturday that the Minister of Social Affairs has a very large area of ​​responsibility and that he, as minister, considers it irresponsible to exclude any community.

Kiik explained that the LGBT association received €96,000 for one project this year from a total of €3.8 million which was distributed to 80 different projects and organizations, saying that all organizations had the right to apply for funding.

The majority of the money went to projects for health, welfare, the elderly, disabled people, equality policy and children and familes, Kiik said.

Kiik called the developments "worrying and sad" and said: "I see no basis for this, it in no way contributes to solving the real problems of social and health care, it does not in any way contribute to the promotion of family values. Rather, it causes unnecessary anger in society, unjustified fears, confrontations, and humiliates people." 

The Centre, EKRE, and Isamaa parties are the three members of the current ruling coalition.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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