At the sitting today, the Draft Resolution of the Riigikogu “Holding a Referendum on the Issue of the Definition of Marriage”, initiated by the Estonian Centre Party Faction, the Estonian Conservative People’s Party Faction, and the Faction Isamaa, passed the first reading.
The Riigikogu voted on the motion of the Reform Party and Social Democratic Party Factions to reject the Draft at the first reading. 48 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of the motion, 51 were against. This means that the Draft remained in the legislative proceeding and the first reading was concluded.
The Draft (288 OE) provides for submitting to the referendum on 18 April 2021 the following national issue: “Shall marriage remain a union between a man and a woman in Estonia?” The following question is to be entered on the voting slip: “Shall marriage remain a union between a man and a woman in Estonia?” along with boxes for possible answers “yes” and “no”.
The deadline for submission of motions to amend is 30 December.
During the debate, Kaja Kallas took the floor on behalf of the Reform Party Faction, describing the planned referendum as pointless, ridiculous, and cruel all at once. Kallas moved to reject the Bill at the first reading.
Tõnis Mölder who spoke on behalf of the Centre Party Faction said that the obstruction could come back to hit the opposition one day like a boomerang. He addressed the members of the Riigikogu with the request to give the people the opportunity to celebrate direct democracy and go on with the discussion of the Draft.
Mart Helme spoke in support of the referendum on behalf of the Estonian Conservative People’s Party. He told the members of the opposition that their attempts to torpedo the Draft with thousands and millions of motions to amend was causing a crisis in the Republic of Estonia.
Indrek Saar took the floor on behalf of the Social Democratic Party Faction. He described the referendum as terrible regardless of the time and place, and he presented a motion to reject the Draft on behalf of the Social Democrats.
Helir-Valdor Seeder took the floor on behalf of the Faction Isamaa. He said that the concept of marriage in the Family Law Act needs a stronger protection through a referendum. Seeder called it hypocritical to obstruct the referendum in the current situation.
The sitting started with a large number of procedural questions from the MPs on approving the agenda of the 11th working week of the 4th session.
During the open microphone, Jevgeni Ossinovski, Lauri Läänemets, Peeter Ernits, Riina Sikkut, Andres Metsoja and Imre Sooäär took the floor.
The sitting ended at 7.42 p.m.
Photos of the sitting (Author: Erik Peinar, Chancellery of the Riigikogu)
Verbatim record of the sitting (in Estonian)
The video recording of the sitting is available on the Riigikogu YouTube channel.
(Please note that the recording will be uploaded with a delay.)
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