Estonians may be able to enter into civil partnerships as soon as July if a coalition of Estonian lawmakers get their way.
A working group including MPs from all four parties in the Estonian Parliament is working on a bill to allow both straight and gay couples to enter into civil partnerships and three of the parties in the parliament support the idea.
Supporters hope to fast track the bill through the parliament so that it can become law as soon as July at which point couples, regardless of gender, would be able to formalize their relationships without marrying and have their property rights recognized.
The bill has been proposed after 2011 census data was released showing that only 34.5% of Estonians over the age of 15 were living in a married relationship, while 15.6 percent were living in committed but unformalized relationships.
However it seems unlikely that the bill will create adoption rights for same-sex couples in Estonia as this is strongly opposed by government coalition member party the Union of Pro Patria and Res Publica who’s leadership are opposed to same-sex partnerships being recognized.
Estonia’s Reform Party, Center Party and Social Democracy Party all support including same-sex couples in the bill.
However the Union of Pro Patria and Res Publica does recognize the need to ensure the rights of children born to unmarried couples.
Estonia is one of the more forward thinking Baltic states when it comes to LGBTI rights.
The country has laws banning discrimination against LGBTI people and allows gays to serve openly in the military and gay and lesbian people may adopt as single people and foster children as a couple.
It is also one of the few Baltic states where gay pride marches are held regularly without major incidents occurring.