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Love Wins: Estonia Makes History by Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage

Estonia’s parliament passed a law Tuesday to legalize same-sex marriage, making it the first ex-Soviet country to do so.

Love Wins: Estonia Makes History by Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage

Estonia’s parliament passed a law Tuesday to legalize same-sex marriage, making it the first ex-Soviet country to do so.

According to a press statement, two adults in the country will be now able to marry ‘regardless of their gender.’ The amended Family Law Act will come into effect from January 1, 2024.

The revisions to the Family Law Act also mean that same-sex couples can now adopt children. In Estonia, only a married couple can adopt a child, although single gay, lesbian, and bisexual individuals can also apply.

“Everyone should have the right to marry the person they love and want to commit to,” affirmed Prime Minister Kaja Kallas. “With this decision, we are finally stepping among other Nordic countries as well as all the rest of the democratic countries in the world where marriage equality has been granted.

“This is a decision that does not take anything away from anyone but gives something important to many,” she continued. “It also shows that our society is caring and respectful towards each other. I am proud of Estonia.” Same-sex relationships have been legally recognized in Estonia since 2016 when the Registered Partnership Act came into effect. However, marriage was previously restricted to opposite-sex couples.

A survey conducted by the Estonian Human Rights Centre in April 2023 found that 53% of Estonians believe that “same-sex partners should have the right to marry each other.”

“I am genuinely very grateful for the patience and understanding the LGBT+ community has shown for all these years,” expressed Signe Riisalo, Estonia’s Minister of Social Protection. “I hope that, in time, those opposed to marriage equality come to see that we don’t lose anything from taking such steps, but rather that we all gain from them,” added Riisalo. “I am delighted that the decision has now been taken for a more forward-looking Estonia that cares for all.”

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Sophia Johnson

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