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Tuesday, Estonia‘s parliament voted 55–34 to amend its Family Law Act to allow same-sex marriages from January 1. Estonia would be the first former Soviet country to do so if its president approves the legislation.
The 2014 Registered Partnership Act, effective in 2016, added the option of civil unions for same-sex couples, which have not provided the same protections and adoption rights as marriages, only permitting civil partners to adopt when one is already a registered parent of the child.
Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said: “I’m proud of my country. We’re building a society where everyone’s rights are respected and people can love freely”.
“Everyone should have the right to marry the person they love and want to commit to. 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. It also shows that our society is caring and respectful towards each other. I am proud of Estonia,” she continued.
In 2012, an inaugural Estonian Human Rights Centre poll estimated 34% of the nation supported same-sex marriage; in April it placed that number at 53%.