Celebration for gay community if Estonia brings same-sex marriage to Eastern Europe

04-01-2024

Eastern Europe

Lennart Nijenhuis, CNE.news

Estonia has shifted its face to the progressive West, also in relation to marriage. Photo AFP, Sajjad Hussain

Estonia was the first country to open marriage to people of the same sex. Since January 1st, homosexuals can tie the knot and even adopt children.

The Estonian parliament decided on a “gender-neutral” marriage legislation in June. The law no longer mentions “a man and a woman” but “two natural persons” who can marry. Gays with a registered partnership (introduced in 2016) can now change this to marriage through a simplified procedure. Baltic News Network has reported about this.

The move is the result of the new Prime Minister Kaja Kallas. Her goal is to turn Estonia more toward the progressive West instead of continuing to lean toward conservative Russia.

The new law confirms that a child cannot have more than two parents. It also preserves the principle that the rights and obligations in relation to a child are first and foremost the responsibility of biological parents, as BNN reports.

Parliamentary president Lauri Hussar had a reception for representatives of LGBT organisations on Wednesday to celebrate the new legislation, as was reported by Baltic Times.

Until now, the whole of Eastern Europe has chosen traditional marriage. Most countries still have that in the Constitution.

In the former Eastern Bloc, same-sex marriage has only been introduced in Southern European Slovenia, which was part of the Republic of Yugoslavia during the Cold War. Some other Eastern Bloc countries have a partnership for homosexuals, like the Czech Republic, Latvia and Hungary.

Churches are not happy with the move. The Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church (EELK) decided to halt registering marriages until the consequences of the legislation were clear. This decision was explained by Archbishop Urmas Viilma.

The Estonian Orthodox Church is against the new legislation, too. The head of the church, Metropolitan Evgeniy, rejected the debated bill. “Believers must not hate people who are “weak in spirit,” but they mustn’t accept the sin of Sodom as the norm”, he said in a statement.

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