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Leading writer calls for legal recognition of same-sex relationships in Estonia

Chairman of the Estonian Writers’ Union, broadcaster and poet Karl Martin Sinijärv has called for the legal recognition of same-sex relationships in the former Soviet state in response to comments from a homophobic MP

Leading writer calls for legal recognition of same-sex relationships in Estonia

A leading Estonian intellectual has called for the legal recognition of same-sex relationship and says it could even be useful to recognize non-sexual dependent relationships between heterosexual friends.

Chairman of the Estonian Writers’ Union and poet Karl Martin Sinijärv made the call in response to comments from IRL party MP Erki Nool that homosexuals should be avoided and given medical treatment.

In an article posted by Estonian Public Broadcasting, Sinijärv wrote that he could only agree with Nool that it was best to avoid practicing homosexuals.

‘A polite person will also avoid the company of practicing heterosexuals,’ Sinijärv wrote.

‘It’s always a good policy to wait a little, until the practicing is over.’

However he wrote that the issue of whether same-sex relationships should be recognized in Estonia through marriage or civil partnerships was ‘an elementary and important, universal human topic.’

‘The fact that some people are homosexual and some are married isn’t even really the point … It all comes down to people, and people should not be pigeonholed in the legal sense based on inborn qualities.’

Sinijärv also saw value in the opening up of civil partnerships to heterosexual friends who were caring for each other.

A same-sex civil partnership that is legally equivalent to marriage could also allow two life-loving widows [or widowers] to legalize their friendship, and be responsible for each other and their children,’ Sinijärv wrote.

‘You don’t have to be gay, you could even be extremely hetero. I wish only for an end to the bizarre situation where a certain legal relationship is permitted only to opposite-sex people. It seemed outrageous when it became permissible to marry someone from a different race or class.’

‘If we leave aside sexuality, that also obviates the nonsensical arguments that heterosexuality is somehow more natural or normal or right, since it allows people to procreate, or that it is the "way nature intended."

‘To ordain that there is only one proper way of going about the physical act of love is just about as bright as to argue that the Sun is the one true star, because it produces visible benefits for us, and that all the other celestial bodies are the devil. Yet in our firmament, the Sun is in a clear minority.’

Estonians are currently debating the value of recognizing same-sex relationships with the parliament currently considering a bill that would allow the registration of same-sex civil partnerships.

A poll conducted in September 2012 found that 34 percent of Estonians supported same-sex marriage and 46 percent supported registered partnerships.

Support for recognizing same-sex relationships was much higher among ethnic Estonians and much lower among the country’s Russian minority.

Sinijärv is the host of two arts shows on Estonian public television.

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