Tallinn, Estonia, June 21, 2023
Ignoring the call of the country’s leading religious communities, the Estonian Parliament legalize gay marriage yesterday.
The draft passed its first reading on on May 22, after which 711 amendments were submitted. And yesterday, June 20, 55 members of the Riikigkogu voted in favor of the relevant bill, 34 against, and 1 abstained. The law comes into effect on January 1, 2024, reports the Estonian outlet err.ee.
Provisions concerning cohabitation will come into effect earlier, on October 1.
Estonia is thus the first ex-Soviet state to legalize gay marriage. In addition to benefits concerning property, housing, and inheritance, the new law also allows for a same-sex spouse to adopt his spouse’s child with the consent of the biological parents, who maintain primary rights.
The Estonian Council of Churches issued a statement in favor of traditional marriage last week, but its voice was not heard. The Council includes the Orthodox jurisdictions of Moscow and Constantinople and various Catholic and Protestant groups.
Both Orthodox jurisdictions also issued statements in May after the government initially approved the draft law.