LGBT rights in Estonia

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LGBT rights in Estonia
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Same-sex sexual activity legal? Legal since 1992,
age of consent equalized in 2001
Gender identity/expression -
Recognition of
No recognition of same-sex couples
Adoption -
Military service Gays and lesbians allowed to serve openly
Discrimination protections Sexual orientation protection in employment (see below)

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons in Estonia may face legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents. Both male and female same-sex sexual activity are legal in Estonia, but households headed by same-sex couples are not eligible for the same legal protections available to opposite-sex couples.

Former laws against homosexuality

Homosexual sex, which was illegal in the Soviet Union, was legalised in Estonia in 1992. The age of consent is 14 years and was equalized for both homosexual and heterosexual sex in 2001.[1] Homosexuals are not banned from military service. There is no law against homosexuals.

Gender identity/expression

Recognition of same-sex relationships

The government has started working on a law which would allow same-sex couples to register their partnerships.[2]

Adoption and family law

Discrimination protections

As an obligation for acceptance into the European Union, Estonia transposed an EU directive into its own laws banning discrimination based on sexual orientation in employment from May 1, 2004. The Equal Treatment Act, in discussion as of 2008, will prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in areas other than employment, such as health care, social security, education and the provision of goods and services.[3]

Living conditions

There are several gay clubs in Tallinn. Pride parades have been organised since 2004. Elsewhere in Estonia, however, the sparse population means there is no gay scene.[citation needed]

Public opinion

A Eurobarometer survey published on December 2006 showed that 21% of Estonians surveyed support same-sex marriage and 14% recognise same-sex couple's right to adopt (EU-wide average 44% and 33%).[4]

Summary table

Homosexuality legal Yes (since 1992)
Equal age of consent Yes (since 2001)
Anti-discrimination laws Yes (in employment since 2004 and in other areas since 2008)
Same-sex marriage(s) No
Recognition of same-sex couples as registered partnerships No
Joint and step adoption by same-sex couples No
Gay men and women allowed to serve openly in the military Yes
Right to change legal gender No
MSMs allowed to donate blood No

See also



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