Estonia became the First Country in Central Europe to Legalize Same-Sex Marriage

EU | June 20, 2023, Tuesday // 15:12|  views

Estonia's parliament approved a law on Tuesday to legalize same-sex marriage. Thus, Estonia became the first Central European country to do so, Reuters reported.

Same-sex marriage is legal in much of Western Europe, but not in Central European countries, the agency noted.

"My message (to Central Europe) is that the fight is hard, but marriage and love are something you have to promote," Prime Minister Kaja Kallas told Reuters after the vote.

"We have developed a lot in these 30 years since we got free from (Soviet) occupation. We are equal among countries with the same values," she added.

The bill received 55 votes in the 101-seat parliament from the coalition of liberal and social democratic parties that Kallas assembled after her landslide victory in the 2023 election.

The law will enter into force from 2024.

In the Baltic state of 1.3 million people, 53 percent support same-sex marriage, according to a 2023 survey by the Center for Human Rights. A decade ago, their share was 34%. However, 38% of Estonians still consider homosexuality unacceptable. Same-sex marriage is opposed by the ethnic Russian minority, which makes up a quarter of the country, with only 40% supporting it.

Gay people in Estonia are generally discreet about their identities, and half have experienced harassment recently, according to the government.

Same-sex partnership bills have also been introduced in the parliaments of Latvia and Lithuania.

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Tags: same-sex marriage, Estonia, europe


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