Does Estonia have to clarify what marriage is?

The Estonian government, a coalition of the Centre Party, the Fatherland Party (Isamaa) and the far-right party Ekre, has decided to hold a referendum next spring on the constitutional definition of marriage. The referendum will not be binding - otherwise the government would have to resign if it loses. Ekre is the driving force behind the initiative; it wanted the law on registering same-sex partnership which was adopted in 2015 to be revoked.

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Eesti Rahvusringhääling (EE) /

Suggestive questions as a trap

Commenting on ERR Online, sociologist Mare Ainsaar explains that the referendum questions as formulated by the government are suggestive and talks of a "werewolf survey" in reference to the fact that in Estonia "fake news" is also dubbed "werewolf news":

“The proposal for a referendum with the question 'Should Estonia recognise marriage only as a union between a man and a woman?' or 'Should marriage be recognised only as a union between a man and a woman in Estonia?' is a clear case of the creation of a 'werewolf'. Referendums are not always good and honest. Werewolf referendums become the source of evil. ... One can claim that it is a referendum - but in reality it is influencing or advertising. It is difficult to imagine how one can answer 'no' to any of these questions.”

Õhtuleht (EE) /

Backwardness will backfire

Õhtuleht believes that Ekre and Isamaa will ultimately pave the way for marriage equality against their own intentions:

“The two parties' struggle against the partnership law has now opened the debate about same-sex marriage - which would otherwise have been postponed for decades. ... But now the Greens and Eesti 200 have stepped forward. They are not afraid of the topic and have collected more than 33,000 signatures for a petition. It is entirely clear that there won't be a marriage referendum that is really about the subject matter itself - Prime Minister Ratas, Ekre leader Helme and Isamaa head Seeder wouldn't dare to connect it with a vote of confidence. So they are cowardly attempting to save their skin with a lame alternative. Ekre and Isamaa have won the battle against the partnership law - yet their victory will result in the legalisation of same-sex marriage.”