What is the Estonian Civil Partnership Act?
In April 2014 the Draft Civil Partnership Act (kooseluseadus) was presented by 40 MPs to the Parliament, which would enable to provide legal protection for families regarless of the gender of partners.
There is a clear need for the Act, as today there are many couples living in unregistered partnerships in Estonia and over half of children are born outside marriage. Therefore these couples and their children are either willingly or unwillingly legally unprotected, which the marriage of partners usually helps to prevent.
If the Act is adopted, partners will be able to register their civil partnership.
The Cohabitation Contract (i.e. the registration of civil partnership) will protect both partners and will enable to regulate the asset relations and to reach an agreement on inheritance matters. Partners will become responsible to sustain and support one another.
Additionally, the Act is important for the laws of Estonia to become in accord with the Constitution of the Republic of Estonia. Current situation where the cohabitation of same-sex couples remains unregistered is violating law, i.e. violating the family`s right of protection and the requirement of equal treatment. The Chancellor of Justice Indrek Teder reached same conclusion in his letter to the Minister of Justice already in 2011.
The Estonian Parliament adopted the Civil Partnership Act on 9 October 2014. It will come into force on 1 January 2016. A number of amendments in other existing laws and implementing acts need to be adopted before that time.
See also: Press release