Estonia set to become first Baltic state to legalise same-sex marriage

Estonia

Estonia’s new president of parliament has committed to legalising same-sex unions and marriages – with a change in the law possible within weeks.

It would make Estonia the first Baltic country to legalise same-sex marriage.

Lauri Hussar became Estonia’s president of parliament in April after his Estonia 200 party signed a coalition agreement with the Reform Party – the majority partner – and the Social Democrats.

In an interview with Lithuanian National Radio and Television (LRT), Hussar said he believed laws allowing same-sex unions and marriages could be adopted in about four weeks’ time.

He highlighted that the most recent polling showed more than 50 per cent of Estonians supported same-sex marriage.

“It is not an issue like it has been six or seven years ago, the mood has changed,” he said.

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Hussar admitted that legalising same-sex unions and marriages was still a divisive subject among some institutions, saying “the Church and the conservatives are against it”, and spoke about demonstrations held with ‘1,000 to 2,000 people protesting against progressive change’.

Estonian president Lauri Hussar (third from left) at Baltic Pride 2023, which was held in the capital, Tallinn. (Facebook)

He also raised what he described as “one very interesting thing”: in countries where same-sex marriage had been legalised “the society moved forward”.

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That progress was partly why the coalition was looking to adopt both same-sex unions and marriages at the same time, he said.

“This is what we have to do, because if we were make the civil partnership decision, then there is still another decision ahead, the same-sex marriage decision, and you will have to make it anyway. So why make two steps?”

In terms of the public’s support for same-sex marriage, Hussar said he believed part of the mood change had been fostered by people observing the war in Ukraine.

“It brought us to think about what is important for us as a society,” he explained.

Fellow Baltic state Lithuania is also considering same-sex unions but not marriages.

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