The fight of the coalition Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) against the state supporting the nonprofit Estonian LGBT Association has taken on a new dimension in Pärnu, where members of EKRE's Pärnu chapter are attending association events and disparaging LGBT+ people. EKRE members' position on the matter remained unchanged even after Gender Equality and Equal Treatment Commissioner Liisa Pakosta gave a presentation at a Pärnu City Council meeting.
Of Pärnu City Council's 39 council members, five are members of EKRE. In the party's fight against the LGBT association, these members have brought up the matter in the city council, leading council chairman Andres Metsoja (Isamaa) to ask Pakosta to explain to members of the council what are counted as fundamental rights and equal opportunities, reported ETV news broadcast Aktuaalne kaamera.
Paragraph 12 of the Constitution of the Republic of Estonia states that, "Everyone is equal before the law. No one may be discriminated against on the basis of nationality, race, colour, sex, language, origin, religion, political or other views, property or social status, or on other grounds."
"What does sexual orientation mean, as referenced by the law?" Pakosta asked. "This means that someone prefers to be in a relationship with someone of a gender different from their own, or someone of the same gender. One's sexual orientation may be heterosexual; it may also be homosexual."
Pakosta's speech, however, had no impact on the council's EKRE members.
"This involves young people, and I believe, we believe, conservatives believe that the LGBT Association should be banned and that their propaganda should be banned," said Helle Kullerkupp, chairwoman of EKRE's Pärnu County chapter. "We cannot regulate what an adult does with their body, their worldview and their life. They can change gender twice a year. But the fact that they go into schools, youth centers and clubs to promote, advertise and introduce their association, to involve young people in how to participate in their association as volunteers, how to volunteer at a gay parade, is unacceptable."
"If someone in the city of Pärnu feels as though they are being followed or photographed, or they are yelled at, or there are demands for their activity to be banned, the right for their nonprofit to be banned, that is unconstitutional," Pakosta said. "If there is a party in Estonia that wants to change the Estonian Constitution, that wants to change one's right to receive equal treatment as enshrined there, to be respected, then a constitutional amendment must be initiated."
If there is no interest in changing the law, and people are simply attacked instead, that isn't fair to those in a weaker position, the commissioner added.
Editor: Aili Vahtla