Estonia on Thursday approved
legislation recognizing the unions of gay and lesbian couples with
civil partnerships, making it the first former Soviet nation to
recognize such unions.
According to the AP, domestic
partnerships will give straight and gay couples most of the rights
afforded to married couples, though adoption rights are limited to
the adoption of biological children.
The partnership act narrowly cleared
parliament with two votes to spare (40-38). More than a fifth of
lawmakers (23) were absent or abstained from the bill's final
President Toomas Hendrik Ilves has
pledged his signature. The legislation takes effect in January 2016.
“Estonia [has] made a leap toward a
society that is freer, more equal and values human rights for all,”
Kari Kasper, director of the Estonian Human Rights Center, told the
At the same time, Kyrgyzstan, another
ex-Soviet republic, is considering adopting a Russian-style law which
prohibits the promotion of “gay propaganda” to minors.