Estonian court: refusal to issue civil status certificate prior same-sex marriage abroad is invalid
An administrative court in Estonia has ruled against a decision by a local authority which had denied issuing a civil status certificate to an Estonian citizen who wished to enter a same-sex marriage abroad.
A bi-national couple involving Estonia and Russian nationals had been planning on getting married in Sweden. However, the Estonian authorities (Harju Maavalitsus (Harju County Goverment – local municipality)) denied issuing a civil status certificate to the Estonian national. Such certificate confirming a single status is required by Swedish law from every person entering into marriage in Sweden.
The refusal was based on the Estonian Family law §10, which says "Marriage between same-sex is not valid". This article was added into law in 2010, before the old law and the current law §1 said: "marriage can be registered only between men and women". However, the claimant argued that the legal partnership recognition would not happen in Estonia and therefore the reasoning behind the refusal was not valid.
The court verdict is final. The local Estonian is now obliged to issue such civil status certificate.