Estonia gay partnership law comes into effect amid legal confusion

Stenbock House, the seat of the Government of Estonia on Toompea Hill.

Stenbock House, the seat of the Government of Estonia on Toompea Hill. David Pursehouse (Wikimedia)

A law allowing gay partnerships took effect in Estonia on Friday, but same-sex couples are being advised to hold off on getting hitched until a series of legal issues have been worked out.

Estonia in 2014 became the first former Soviet republic to approve gay civil unions, but Parliament has not yet adopted laws required to implement that decision.

While couples can enter into unions, the Estonian Chamber of Notaries says there are legal uncertainties related to divorce, inheritance and other practical matters.

For that reason, the chamber has advised same-sex couples to consider waiting until the rules become clearer.

Estonia, which like Baltic neighbors Latvia and Lithuania was occupied by the Soviet Union for almost five decades, is considered the most Western-oriented of the former Soviet republics.

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