Estonia grants residency permit to gay couple

An Estonian-American gay couple made history in Estonia and paved the way to other international same-sex couples, making it easier for them to live together in Estonia.

Marian Männi
Marian Männi Eesti Ekspress, Estonia
Source: Eesti Ekspress
Estonia grants residency permit to gay couple - NewsMavens
Two men, PixaBay

Why this story matters:

Estonian Hanno Ahonen and American Josh Prosser got married in San Francisco in October 2017. They soon decided to move to Estonia, but quickly realized it was more complicated than if they had been a heterosexual couple.

Getting a residence permit based on the same-sex marriage was something new in Estonia. Their first application was rejected, but they appealed and kept showing proof that they had previously lived together for two years in the US.

Josh recently became the first LGBT+ person outside the Schengen area to specifically be granted a residence permit based on marriage.

In this TV report they are showing their home in Estonia and sharing their story.

Hanno said that he wanted to take up this journey to strengthen the Estonian gay community. It was worth it. "We opened the gate for those who want to marry beautiful Estonian men," Hanno jokingly concludes.

Estonia is one of the very few countries in Eastern Europe that allows same-sex partnerships. The next step -- marriage, as it seems -- may not be that far away.

As long as people like Hanno and Josh keep persisting.

Details from the story:

  • A similar story appeared involving a lesbian couple just half a year ago. The court stated that a marriage between same-sex couple is not valid in Estonia. 
  • Estonia allows same-sex couples to register their partnership in Estonia, but it doesn't allow marriage. 
  • The gender-neutral Registered Partnership Act entered into force in the beginning of 2016, however its implementing acts have still not been adopted by the Riigikogu. This has caused a lot of stir and debate in the country.
  • Denmark was the first country in the world to give legal recognition to same-sex couples.
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