Estonia just legalised same-sex marriage in a historic first

Estonia Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (front) and Baltic Pride in Lithuania in 2022
Images: Fanni Uusitalo/Finland Government (left), Augustas Didžgalvis/Wikimedia Commons

Estonia’s parliament has voted to legalise same-sex marriage, making it the first Baltic, central European and ex-Soviet country to do so.

The country’s marriage equality bill was approved by 55 votes to 34 on June 20.

Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (pictured above) said the reform “does not take anything away from anyone but gives something important to many.”

“We join other Nordic nations with this historic decision,” she said.

“I’m proud of my country. We’re building a society where everyone’s rights are respected and people can love freely.”

She said the first legal same-sex marriages will occur in Estonia from 2024.

Moreover, the new amendments will also open the door to same-sex spouses adopting children for the first time.

While same-sex marriage is widespread among western European countries, in eastern and central Europe it’s a very different story.

Countries like Poland and Hungary have targeted LGBTQIA+ rights in recent years.

‘Love and marriage is something you have to promote’

Estonia first introduced civil unions for same-sex couples nine years ago. Next year the couples will be able to convert them to marriages.

Speaking to Reuters after the vote, PM Kallas said in the 30 years since Estonia gained independence from the Soviet Union the country had “developed a lot”.

“We are equals among same-values countries,” she said.

To other central European countries, she said her message was that “it’s a difficult fight, but marriage and love is something that you have to promote”.

Just a few weeks ago, Estonian city Tallinn celebrated Baltic Pride. The country jointly shares the festival with Baltic neighbours Lithuania (above, in 2022) and Latvia.

Lithuania and Latvia currently have bills to legalise same-sex civil unions before their parliaments.

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Jordan Hirst
Jordan Hirst

Jordan Hirst is an experienced journalist and content creator with a career spanning over a decade at QNews. Since 2012, the Brisbane local has covered an enormous range of topics and subjects in-depth affecting the LGBTIQA+ community, both in Australia and overseas. Today, the Brisbane-based journalist covers everything from current affairs, politics and health to sport and entertainment.

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1 Comment

  1. Paul
    24 June 2023

    Well Done Estonia!

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