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Aili Kala

HRD & President
Estonian LGBT Association

The Cohabitation Act means a world to me. It is a sign that cooperation can be the strongest power in the world and [that] one single person can make a difference.

Aili Kala is a human rights defender and president of the Estonian LGBT Association. For more than five years, Aili has been advocating for the recognition and the rights of LGBT+ persons, as well as gender recognition for transgender people in Estonia.

The Estonian LGBT Association played major role in passing the Registered Partnership Act in January 2016, also known as the Cohabitation Act, legislation that allows same same-sex and opposite-sex couples in Estonia to register to receive almost all the benefits of marriage. “It has been a greater cooperation between civil society, NGOs and people who care about human rights and equality,” says Aili.

The Cohabitation Act also allows couples to proceed with second parent adoption. This means that one registered partner can adopt a child of another registered partner. “Naturally, it is a huge step towards equality and recognition of all people and families,” says Aili.

Since the passing of the act, the number of registered couples and second-parent adoption decisions has significantly increased.