Estonia Becomes First Ex-Soviet Nation to Recognize Gay Partnerships

Estonia lawmakers have voted 40-38 to approve a partnership act that recognizes the civil unions of same-sex couples, the Associated Press reports:

EstoniaThe new law will gives those in civil unions — heterosexual or gay — almost the same rights as married couples, including financial, social and health benefits provided by the government and legal protection for children. It does not give adoption rights for couples in such unions but does allow one partner to adopt the biological child of the other.

It comes into force in January 2016, after it has been signed by President Toomas Hendrik Ilves who supported the bill.

The Estonian Human Rights Center hailed the vote as "historic," saying it would send a strong message to neighboring Russia, which passed what it called "a draconian anti-gay law" last year.

"Estonia (has) made a leap toward a society that is freer, more equal and values human rights for all," the group's director, Kari Kasper, said.


  1. RonCharles says

    Just by coincidence, I happened to watch “The Singing Revolution,” a movie on DVD about the struggle of the Estonian people for their freedom from communism. Having just watched this film last night, it is no surprise to me at all that Estonia is the first nation in the former Soviet Union to pass civil partnerships for gay couples. It was one of the most advanced areas in the old Tsarist Empire; it was a successful republic in the 1920’s and 1930’s; and it has once again become a modern state with its winning its independence a second time in 1991.

  2. Daniel Berry, NYC says

    Here’s the explanation right here – from Wikipedia:

    Estonia’s constitution guarantees freedom of religion, separation of church and state, and individual rights to privacy of belief and religion.[190] According to the Dentsu Communication Institute Inc, Estonia is one of the least religious countries in the world, with 75.7% of the population claiming to be irreligious. The Eurobarometer Poll 2005 found that only 16% of Estonians profess a belief in a god, the lowest belief of all countries studied (EU study).[191]

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