(Blogmensgo, gay blog of January 5, 2016) The new law on registered partnerships (civil unions) in Estonia took effect on January 1st, 2016. It had been voted by the Estonian parliament more than a year ago. However, it is not applicable yet because the legal landscape has not been appropriately adapted to it.
On October 9, 2014, the Estonian parliament adopted the “Act 650 SE on Registered Partnerships,” which allowed a civil union for same-sex partners and some limited rights on adoption.
Basically, gays and lesbians may register their partnerships from now on – however, most laws and regulations have not been amended for the new situation. Therefore, the Estonian authorities recommend interested parties to wait a little while longer.
The Estonian Chamber of Notaries explains that there is still a lack of clarity on a number of issues, particularly in terms of divorce and right of succession. It is already known that, compared to married couples, same-sex partners will have fewer rights of succession.
Currently, no clear date for these required legal modifications is known. Although Estonia is the first of the Baltic states and the first country of the former Soviet Union to offer same-sex partnerships at all, the legal details have not yet been worked out and therefore remain unclear.