After one year, the Czech Republic's Equal Marriage Bill still waiting for government approval

A public happening in Prague on June 12 will mark one year since a gay and lesbian marriage bill has been proposed

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston Published on 11.06.2019 13:31:34 (updated on 11.06.2019) Reading time: 2 minutes

The Equal Marriage Bill, which would allow for gay and lesbian marriages, has been stalled in the Czech Parliament. A happening will take place June 12 from 4 pm to 8:30 pm at Prague’s Malostranské náměstí to encourage the Chamber of Deputies to take some action to pass the bill. The happening is staged by the Jsme fér (We are fair) initiative.

“We want to be heard. We want to make it clear to members of Parliament that equal marriage is important to us and to society at large. Finally, we want to live in a country where every adult can marry the one he or she loves,” Czeslaw Walek, head of the Jsme fér initiative, said.

On June 12, one year will have passed since the submission of the bill. During that time the lower house has not voted on the amendment. This means the gay and lesbian community remain second-class citizens when it comes to marriage, and their children live in legal uncertainty, according to Jsme fér.

Representatives of the six groups making up the Coalition for Marriage — Amnesty International, Logos, Mezipatra, Prague Pride, PROUD and Queer Geography — will march during the day to deliver a declaration to the Chamber of Deputies and the Office of the Government.

Happening participants can send messages to members of Parliament about the marriage bill. They can write on a message wall, record a video, or send a Jsme fér postcard.

The happening will include a presentation about the differences between marriage and registered partnership, live music, wedding cakes, an information stand and more.

After 6 pm, several politicians and personalities will show their support for the bill. Expected speakers include Prague Mayor Zdeněk Hřib (Pirates), Parliamentary Deputy Monika Červíčková (ANO), theater director Milan Hein, singer Jaro Smejkal, IBM board member Milena Jabůrková, dietitian Kateřina Cajthamlová, Eurovision participants Lake Malawi and others.

The bill has been discussed twice in the lower house, but no vote has been taken. “During the two talks about the bill in the lower house, on average, almost two-thirds of the time was dedicated for dissenting speeches, less than one-third for supportive ones. The second house meeting on March 26 was clearly dominated by the opposition (68 percent) and the support performance reached only 27 percent,” Adéla Horáková, lawyer for the Jsme fér initiative, said.

“It shows that the opponents of the law therefore rather speak, the supporters would rather vote. And that the more we approach a potential vote, the greater the risk of further delays,” she added.

Registered partnerships for gay and lesbian couples have been legal since 2006, but do not have the same legal standing as marriage.

The Jsme fér initiative began its activities in April 2017 to lead a public debate on equal gay and lesbian rights for equal marriage in the Czech Republic. The debate on the legislative bill amendment, allowing same-sex couples to marry with all the rights and obligations, was opened at the Chamber of Deputies for the first time in November 2018.

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