Estonia is on the brink of becoming the first Baltic country to legalise same-sex unions and marriages, as the newly appointed President, Lauri Hussar, has pledged to push for a change in the law in a matter of weeks.
President Hussar, who assumed office in April after his Estonia 200 party formed a coalition with the Reform Party and the Social Democrats, expressed confidence during an interview with Lithuanian National Radio and Television (LRT) that legislation permitting same-sex unions and marriages could be adopted within four weeks.
He highlighted the shifting attitudes in Estonian society, pointing to recent polls indicating that over 50 percent of the population supports same-sex marriage. Hussar noted that the issue is no longer as contentious as it was six or seven years ago.
However, he acknowledged that legalising same-sex unions and marriages remains divisive among certain institutions, particularly the Church and conservative groups. Hussar cited demonstrations involving 1,000 to 2,000 people who protested against progressive change.
President Hussar also drew attention to a notable trend in countries where same-sex marriage has been legalised, observing that such societies have moved forward. This progress was one of the reasons why the coalition government aims to introduce same-sex unions and marriages simultaneously. Hussar argued that by combining the decisions, Estonia avoids the need to take separate steps toward civil partnerships and then same-sex marriage.
The President attributed part of the shifting public sentiment on same-sex marriage to a reevaluation prompted by the war in Ukraine. He explained that the conflict led Estonian society to reflect on its core values and priorities.
Meanwhile, neighbouring Baltic state Lithuania is also contemplating the legalisation of same-sex unions, albeit without extending the recognition to full marriages.
Should Estonia succeed in enacting the proposed legislation, it would mark a significant milestone for the Baltic region, paving the way for greater LGBTQ+ rights and inclusivity.