Estonia wants to give homosexuals more equal rights. At the moment, a group consisting of representatives of four parties in the Estonian parliament are working on a bill that will allow same-sex couples to enter into a legal partnership.
It is expected that the bill on civil partnership will be ready before summer, which means that the first couples will enter into a legal commitment with a ceremonial marriage in July. These legal partnerships will not only be open to homosexual couples, but also to straight couples. The bill will pass, as the government is of the opinion that not enough people are getting married in Estonia, and also because more homosexual couples feel the need for equal rights.
The bill on legal partnership is from 2011, after statistics showed that only 34% of Estonians are married, and 16% was in a stable relationship that was not made legal. Whether these legal partnerships will give the same rights as those of a marriage is yet unclear. They do expect that there will be no adoption rights for homosexual couples, as there is no majority for this within the government. There is consensus however on legal partnerships, and all parties are in favour of those. When it comes to adoption rights for LGBTs, only one party is in favour.
Estonia is one of the Baltic states with a good track record on LGBT rights. For years, there has been a law that protects against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Homosexuals can openly serve in the army, and single gays and lesbians can adopt children or take in a foster child. Estonia is also one of the few Baltic states where a Gay Pride is held every year without any incidents.