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International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Saturday, 13.08.2022, 00:24

Estonian parlt to continue handling of draft resolution on marriage referendum

BC, Tallinn, 14.12.2020.Print version
The Estonian parliament did not support a proposal by the opposition to reject the draft resolution on holding a referendum on the definition of marriage on December 14th, informs LETA/BNS.

The proposal submitted by the opposition Reform Party and Social Democratic Party (SDE) to reject the draft was voted out with 48 votes for and 51 against.

The parliament is thus to continue the handling of the of the draft resolution and the first reading thereof was concluded.

Three MPs of the coalition --  Siim Kiisler, Ullar Saaremae and Viktoria Ladonskaja-Kubits from the Isamaa party -- voted in favor of rejecting the draft. Isamaa MP Mihhail Lotman abstained from the vote. 

Imre Sooaar, a newly sworn in member of the Center Party group in the Riigikogu, voted against rejecting the draft.

According to the draft resolution submitted by the parliamentary groups of the three parties of the government coalition -- the Center Party, the Estonian Conservative People's Party (EKRE) and Isamaa -- the question to be asked from voters in the referendum would be: "Must marriage remain a union between a man and a woman in Estonia?" Participants in the referendum will be able to answer "yes" or "no." Representatives of the political parties in the Estonian governing coalition expressed support on behalf of their parliamentary groups to seeing a referendum held in Estonia on the definition of marriage.

MP of the Center Party Tonis Molder said that there is nothing more ruinous for a parliamentary democracy than suppressing a debate at any cost, adding that the opposition planning to submit thousands of motions to amend the draft resolution on marriage referendum may immobilize the parliament for months or years; however it will not strengthen democracy in any way.

Molder opined that every polite, restrained, reasonable and well-argued debate strengthens democracy in Estonia.

MP of the Estonian Conservative People's Party (EKRE) Mart Helme said that the planned referendum will reduce the influence of the powers seeking to manipulate representative democracy, and rule out the option of marriage being redefined as anything other than a union between a man and a woman.

Leader of Isamaa Helir-Valdor Seeder said that granting additional legal protection to marriage is a necessary step as parties that have previously supported the Registered Partnership Act are seeking to redefine the notion of marriage. Seeder highlighted that the holding of the referendum was also agreed upon as a compromise by the coalition after the general elections.

"The chancellor of justice has unambiguously said that the result of the referendum is binding and can only be changed after a new referendum. If the majority of the respondents in the referendum answer in the positive, a majority vote in the parliament will no longer be sufficient for regularizing same-sex marriage and redefining marriage. It would be a fundamentally different situation from the one we have now," he said.

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