Estonian president condemns interior minister's “simply revolting” comments about LGBT community

By Linas Jegelevicius in Vilnius October 18, 2020

Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid has condemned a statement about sexual minorities made by Interior Minister and leader of the Estonian Conservative People's Party (EKRE) Mart Helme, saying it was "humanly simply revolting".

"I do not understand Interior Minister Mart Helme's undisguised hostility towards our society. We are talking about our own people — our police officers and teachers, our creative people and builders, our neighbours, co-workers, friends. Strangers, too, but still our people. Dividing and classifying them as correct and incorrect, us and them, on the basis of sexual orientation, skin colour, or any other characteristic, is unacceptable, contrary to the spirit of our constitution and also humanly simply revolting," the Estonian head of state said on social media on October 17.

The Estonian president argued that Helme's statement is a provocation that divides people into more valuable and less valuable based on how they were born.

"I am ashamed and sad that the people of Estonia, who believe what is written in the Estonian constitution, that we are all equal before the law, and who therefore think they are protected from the wilfulness of politicians, once again learned that we have a minister in government to whom the human dignity of the people of Estonia is less important than his right to use his position of power to demean others," Kaljulaid said.

According to her, evil must never be tolerated. "Evil and hatred can never be a political agenda, where we think it is the policy of one party and live on. The moment we normalise evil, we occupy ourselves," the president said.

The Estonian president said she does not believe that a minister with such opinions is a suitable member of the government of Estonia. "The people of Estonia deserve better. I also discussed this with the prime minister on Saturday morning, to whom I forwarded my position," the president said.

EKRE has drafted a bill on a referendum on the definition of marriage to be included in the country’s constitution. According to the EKRE bill, Estonians would be asked in the referendum if they agree with the following statement: "Do you support the proposal to complement the constitution of the Republic of Estonia with the sentence 'marriage is a standing union between one man and one woman'?"

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