'A sad day for equality': Czechia grants same-sex couples partnership rights, limited adoption

Lawmakers have approved an amendment permitting same-sex couples to enter partnerships, but not marriage.


Written by ČTK Published on 29.02.2024 09:27:00 (updated on 29.02.2024) Reading time: 3 minutes

The Czech Chamber of Deputies has approved an amendment to the Civil Code which allows same-sex couples to enter into partnerships with most of the rights that are available to heterosexual couples in marriage. The main restriction concerns the rights to children, which remain unavailable to same-sex couples.

The original draft aimed to legalize same-sex marriage, but the amended amendment will now proceed to the Senate for consideration.

The lower house has passed the bill in accordance with an amendment proposed by representatives from the Christian Democrats and the ANO parties. The amendment states that the adoption of a child will only be possible if one of the partners is the biological parent of the child.

Advocacy group Jsme fér commented on the outcome of the vote on social network X:

"The meeting of the Chamber of Deputies has ended. Marriage for all couples was not accepted. It is a sad day for thousands of families with children who have two moms or two dads and hundreds of thousands of LGBTQ+ people. It is a sad day for justice and equality in our country."

Amendment approved by chamber of deputies

  • The lower house approved an amendment permitting same-sex couples to enter partnerships, not marriage.
  • Lawmakers authorized the adoption of a partner's child but excluded the adoption of children under institutional care.
  • Partners gain rights to common property, joint tenancy, and eligibility for a widow's or widower's pension upon partner's death.

The Chamber of Deputies passed the amended draft with 123 votes in favor out of 176 members of parliament present, while 36 members opposed it.

The amendment will come into effect starting next year. It will eliminate the option for same-sex couples to register for the current civil partnership. Additionally, those who are currently registered will not have joint property rights under the law, nor will they be entitled to receive a widow's or widower's pension after the loss of their partner.

Czech Government Human Rights Commissioner Klára Šimáčková Laurenčíková expressed disappointment over the Czech parliament's decision to approve registered partnerships instead of marriage for all:

"In terms of equality, the marriage-for-all option would be optimal. I believe that in the future, the Czech Republic will legalize marriage for all. It is a pity that this has not already been done. I think we need to try again and again and look to countries that have already legalized marriage for all. They declare clearly positive experiences."

She noted that the majority of Czech society supported the legalization of marriage for all.

Jsme fér spokesperson Filip Milde, lamented the perpetuation of societal division: "Same-sex couples will only be able to enter into civil partnerships. Czech society will remain divided into different categories of people based on whom they love." The initiative highlighted the international trend towards marriage equality, urging for progress.

The advocacy group states that 35 countries have legalized marriage for all, and on average, it took almost 10 years for them to transition from partnerships to regular unions. After nine years of advocacy, Greece finally approved marriage for same-sex couples earlier this month.

"Debates on eliminating all forms of discrimination against same-sex couples began in Czech society soon after the Velvet Revolution, more than 30 years ago. Registered partnerships were adopted 17 long years ago," Milde said. In Czechia, he adds, the intense debate over marriage for all has been going on for seven years.

Many politicians see the amendment on the unions of same-sex couples as a compromise between supporters and opponents of rainbow marriages. Speaking on behalf of her party, Deputy Speaker of the Chamber Olga Richterová said that while progress has been made in the issue of adoption the Pirates would continue to fight for equal rights.

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