Estonia - Iivi Anna Masso: anti-gay campaign reveals very severe intolerance

Submitted by ILGA-Europe

Reposted from Postimees:

Christianity need not mean fighting against homosexuals, political scientist and presidential adviser Iivi Anna Masso told Postimees opinion portal, referring to recent signature collecting campaign.

Now and again, opinions are expressed about cohabitation and homosexuality, but now we have a large signature-campaign underway. What does it say about our society and how should we look at it?

I wouldn’t, on the basis of this, say anything about the society as a whole, rather addressing those gathering the signatures. I see it as a hostile campaign and a contrasting one – they claim to represent the church, but in the Nordic countries, for instance, Lutheran church weds homosexual couples. There, the discussion is on another level altogether. Actively battling against non-marital cohabitation of homosexuals is a sign of very severe intolerance indeed, I view it as instigating hostility.

So we cannot draw conclusions regarding our society?

Well, it does say something. Very conservative groups exist everywhere, but in Sweden-Finland a campaign like this would be harder to imagine – talking about countries that we look up to, talking about salaries for instance.

Which is more democratic: an initiative like this collecting many signatures and impacting legislation, or legislators ignoring an initiative like that?

This is clearly a minority’s voice and we have responsibilities towards human rights and associations with European values. In that sense I don’t know to which extent this initiative reflects the voice of the nation.

But it’s a good reminder. I would like to remind you that in his Anniversary of the Republic speech, the President briefly mentioned that popular initiatives may bring about conservative decisions and intolerance. To this, many reacted, that the President is claiming the people are dumb, and know not how to vote. I would underline that the President said that the people are conservative, not that referendums are faulty. The supporters of referendums often fail to understand or expect that people’s initiatives often don’t represent liberal values, nor enhance equality.

Meaning that people fail to propose discussion of the values based on which referendums are desired?

Sad but true, often. However, there was a study conducted in Finland, not long ago, according to which over a half are for homosexual marriage. Even the Queen of UK, standing for one of the most conservative institutions of the West, recently issued a document indirectly supporting homosexuals’ rights. Hence the question, where do we belong – why do we have to lag, in this matter, behind by many centuries?

Cristian foundation for Defence of Family and Traditions initiated a petition against legalising homosexuals cohabitation i.e. cohabitation of same sex couples.

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