Czech court rules against adoption of children abroad by same-sex registered couples

The court ruling was in response to a proposal that would amend a current law preventing same-sex partners who registered abroad to adopt.

ČTK

Written by ČTK
Published on 12.01.2021 10:00 (updated on 12.01.2021)

Brno, Jan 11 (CTK) -- The Czech Constitutional Court (US) has ruled against the Regional Court's proposal to amend a current law that would prevent same-sex partners who registered abroad from adopting Czech children.

The Prague Regional Court proposed the US delete a few words in the law governing private international law.

In the Czech Republic, registered same-sex partners cannot adopt a child as the legal framework privileges married opposite-sex couples.

"Should the legislators set the rules for adoption, they can substantially prevent the rules from being 'circumvented' via foreign legal arrangement," the US finding reads. It points specifically to Czech citizens adopting or being adopted in another country. According to the US, this concerns not only getting around the law on purpose, but also the cases of adoptive parents who have been living abroad for some time already.

The We Are Fair Czech advocacy group has expressed regret at the US ruling. It says it considers the decision as a proof that the Czech Republic needs to legalise marriage for everybody.

Without equal marriage, "rainbow" couples and families with children suffer and are degraded as second-class citizens every day, Filip Milde from the group said. The amendment concerning same-sex marriages is in the lower house of Czech parliament, but has not been sent to the second reading yet.

The US discussed the amendment in reaction to the case of a registered same-sex couple, a Czech and a Trinidad and Tobago citizen living in the U.S. A court in New Jersey approved their decision to adopt two children with the U.S. citizenship.

Because the men feared legal complications when travelling to the Czech Republic with the children, they asked the district court in Nymburk, central Bohemia, to recognize the U.S. court decision. The court in Nymburk dismissed their request, arguing with the private international law that does not allow for the approval of a decision against Czech law.

Subsequently, the Regional Court in Prague dealt with their appeal and reached out to the US. According to the Prague court, the condition of compliance with Czech law is unconstitutional since it does not enable Czech justice to recognize a "factual and legal reality," protect family life, and decide in favor of the best interest of the child.

If the US had given its approval, Czech courts could have recognised foreign judgements in legitimate cases, as long as they are not against "the public order", the Prague Court suggested.

However, a majority of the US judges refuted the proposal.

In a different case, the US has been dealing also with a provision in the Czech Civil Code that does not allow same-sex couples to adopt the children of their registered partner. To change it, the US would have to modify the formulation of the law so that the same rules apply to married opposite-sex couples and registered partners.

In 2016, the US enabled two men living in a registered partnership to adopt a child individually. The gay community welcomed this step. Nevertheless, the 2016 finding does not refer to joint adoption. At present, only married couples are allowed to jointly adopt a child, the Czech Civil Code stipulates.

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