Estonia has passed a law allowing same-sex marriage

Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said he was “proud of Estonia” after the bill received 55 votes in the 101-seat parliament.

The Estonian parliament was the first Central European country to pass a law legalizing same-sex marriage.

55 votes in favor and 34 against the bill in the 101-seat parliament.

Prime Minister Kaja Karas said after Tuesday’s vote: “This decision will not take anything away from anyone, but it will bring something important to many people.

“People should have the right to marry whoever they love and want to commit to,” Karas said, adding that he is “proud of Estonia.”

Same-sex marriage is legal in most Western European countries, but not in Central European countries formerly ruled by communists and a member of the Warsaw Pact alliance led by Moscow, but now a member of the Soviet Union. part of NATO and most of the EU.

As of 2014, same-sex couples can form civil partnerships in Estonia. But so far, Congress has closed loopholes that prevent same-sex couples from enjoying the same benefits as heterosexual couples.

A 2023 survey by the Center for Human Rights found that 53% of the Baltic states, with a population of 1.3 million, support same-sex marriage. Ten years ago, that number was 34%.

However, 38% of Estonians still consider homosexuality unacceptable. A quarter of the country’s ethnic Russian minority opposes same-sex marriage, but only 40% support it.

“one chance”

Gay people in Estonia are cautious about their identities and according to the government, half of them have recently been harassed.

Thomas Jermalavičius, research director at the Center for the Defense of International Marriage, said: “This is a good opportunity for the government, as public opinion on same-sex marriage has turned positive and after this year’s elections. , it has achieved a sufficient level. conservative opposition.” Protection.

Latvia and Lithuania, two other Baltic states annexed by the Soviet Union, introduced same-sex partnership bills in their parliaments.

Anneli Lepamaa, a lesbian, told Reuters the country “finally accepted me”.

“Now I have to fight for everything. I have to go to court to get custody of my own children. Why?” – said the 46-year-old man. – Now I’m a man of power.

After the vote, Lepamaa’s sixth partner, Eeva Koplimet, 36, proposed to them in an interview with Reuters.

“Yes, we will get married. We decided on TV!”, he said.

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