Despite a fierce opposition from the conservative IRL party, the civil partnership bill cleared its second reading at the Estonian Parliament.

The bill was introduced in spring by 40 MPs, representing three parties out of four in parliament. It is supported by the leaders of the ruling coalition - Reform Party and Social Democrats, who have an absolute majority in the legislature.

However, the government has not imposed a whip on the bill and it will be up for a free vote, with some government MPs likely to press red buttons as well. Some MPs from the opposition Centre Party have declared their support for the bill, but most of the MPs from the conservative IRL are expected to vote against.