Gay marriage now legal in Estonia

Estonia, January 2, 2024

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As of New Year’s Day, gay marriage is legal in Estonia, making it the first ex-Soviet state to make this move.

Ignoring the call of the country’s leading religious communities, the Estonian Parliament voted to legalize gay marriage in June, setting it to come into force on January 1.

The draft bill passed its first reading on May 22, and on June 20, 55 members of the Riikigkogu voted in favor of it, 34 against, and 1 abstained.

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.

Both Orthodox jurisdictions in Estonia (Moscow and Constantinople) issued statements in defense of marriage in May after the government initially approved the draft law, followed by a statement from the Estonian Council of Churches, including the Orthodox jurisdictions, in June.

The Church in Greece is currently fighting the same battle. The government recently declared that it intends to legalize gay marriage despite the protests of the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece, individual hierarchs, and the monastic community of Mt. Athos.

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