TALLINN - On Monday, when the Riigikogu convenes for the first reading of the marriage equality bill, 600 people active in Estonian society, including presidents Toomas Hendrik Ilves and Kersti Kaljulaid as well as dozens of writers, actors, musicians, entrepreneurs and many others, sent a statement of support for the idea of marriage equality to the Riigikogu.
The address draws attention to the fact that the principle that all people are equal before the law is already laid down in the Constitution of the Republic of Estonia. By the same principle, everyone should have equal rights, including the right to marry, if they wish, regardless of whether they want and are able to have children, or what their sexual orientation is.
"That is why we support marriage equality," the address says. "So that everyone can live here knowing that everyone is equally valuable for Estonia. And then we can all work together, without leaving anyone out, to solve the next tasks before us."
"Every good, honest and law-abiding person deserves the best treatment and support from their country," Estonia's former president Kersti Kaljulaid, who signed the statement, said. "As stated in Article 12 of the Constitution -- any kind of discrimination is prohibited in Estonia. It is especially incomprehensible and sad when a distinction is made based on characteristics that we cannot change ourselves -- orientation, skin color, gender or special needs. The treatment of sexual minorities is a litmus test for every society and I am satisfied that Estonia is taking the next step. Love is free!”
"Restriction of human freedom belongs to an era from which Estonia escaped 32 years, one and a half generations, ago," former president Toomas Hendrik Ilves said. "Not everyone could foresee what the movement from Soviet society towards freedom would entail and cannot overcome it in their CPSU state of mind. Let's not let the Soviet mentality keep us in the past. We have already been free for a third of a century, which also means that the state does not discriminate against its citizens based on gender, skin color, sexual orientation or special needs, which no one can change."
The statement of support was also signed by hundreds of people recognized in various fields, among them athletes, clergy and theologians, people of art and culture, entrepreneurs and intellectuals.
Among the signatories are writers Andrus Kivirahk, Tiit Aleksejev, Martin Algus, Kristiina Ehin, Jan Kaus, Maarja Kangro, Mika Keranen, Indrek Mesikepp, Mudlum, Katrin Pauts, Aino Pervik, Rein Raud, Jurgen Rooste, Olavi Ruitlane, Peeter Sauter, Livia Ulman, Andris Feldmanis, Berk Vaher and others; film and theater directors Ivo Felt, Anna Hints, Kadri Kousaar, Andres Maimik, Peeter Rebane, Mart Kivastik and Jaanus Rohumaa; actors Kristel Aaslaid, Mart Avandi, Rasmus Kaljujarv, Henrik Kalmet, Piret Kalda, Mari-Liis Lill, Mait Malmsten, Mirtel Pohla, Ursula Ratasepp, Gert Raudsep, Elisabet Reinsalu, Rain Tolk, Harriet Toompere, Tambet Tuisk, Juhan Ulfsak, Evelin Voigemast, Mart Koik and others; musicians Vaiko Eplik, Andres Kopper (NOEP), Elina Born, Sissi Nylia Benita, Paul Neitsov, Maarja Nuut, Jaan Pehk, Lauri Saatpalu, Sten Seripov, Villemdrillem, Florian Wahl and others; fashion designers Kalle Aasamae, Liisi Eesmaa, Marit Ilison, Karin Rask and Oksana Tandit; media persons Mart Juur, Marii Karell, Vahur Kersna, Raul Rebane, Anu Saagim, Eeva Esse-Soorumaa and others; stand-up comedians Mikael Meema, Ann Vaida and Mattias Naan; scientists Marju Lauristin, Krista Fischer, Anzori Barkalaja, Mikko Lagerspetz and others; artists Maria Arusoo, Kirke Kangro, Edith Karlson, Peeter Laurits, Mart Sander, Kadi Soosalu, Marta Vaarik and others; choreographers Juri Nael, Sveta Grigorjeva and Mart Kangro; clergy and theologians Annika Laats, Triin Kapp, Meelis Suld, Tauno Toompuu and others; athletes Maik-Kalev Kotsar and Kasper Elissaar; entrepreneurs Taavet Hinrikus, Karoli Hindriks, Ville Jehe, Andreas Kaju, Allan Martinson, Tiit Pruuli, Rasmus Rask, Kaidi Ruusalepp, Sten Tamkivi, Martin Villig, Markus Villig and others.