European Region of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association

Estonia : first country of the former USSR to legally recongise same-sex families

Today Estonian parliament approved gender neutral cohabitation law which provides most of rights and protections associated with marriage also to non-married cohabiting couples regardless of the partners’ gender.

Thus Estonia became the first country of the former USSR to legally recongise same-sex families. The cohabitation law also allows unmarried cohabiting couples to jointly apply for child adoption.

Gabi Calleja, Co-Chair of ILGA-Europe’s Executive Board, said:

“We warmly welcome this significant development and congratulate Estonian LGBTI activists and Estonian politicians for making such important step towards making Estonia a country where all families are respected and protected. Today’s vote is particularly important as Estonia is the first country of the former USSR to make such historic step.”

Paulo Corte-Real, Co-Chair of ILGA-Europe’s Executive Board, continued:

“Today’s victory for equality in Estonia is very symbolic as we are having our Annual Conference in neighbouring Latvia with 350 participants from 48 countries present and jointly witnessing how justice, respect and dignity are overcoming fears and prejudice. This is a great reminder to all LGBTI activists across the continent that change is possible, change is happening and we are that change.”