Czech president slams government for not joining EU lawsuit against Hungary's LGBTQ+ law

Petr Pavel also criticized the government for not yet ratifying the Istanbul Convention.

Thomas Smith

Written by Thomas Smith Published on 21.04.2023 10:30:00 (updated on 21.04.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

President Petr Pavel has criticized the government of Prime Minster Petr Fiala for not joining the European Commission's lawsuit over Hungary’s anti-LGBTQ+ laws. He also said the country should ratify the Istanbul Convention, which seeks to protect women against violence.

Hungary’s law prohibits or heavily restricts portrayals of homosexuality and gender reassignment as part of the school curriculum for under-18-year-olds.

A total of 15 countries have joined the European Commission legal case against Hungary’s so-called Child Protection Law.

“I have to ask the prime minister what led the government to renounce it [the lawsuit]”

Petr Pavel

Pavel, who is currently in Brussels on a diplomatic visit, also said that he supports the legalization of same-sex marriage in Czechia and the ability of homosexual couples to adopt children. Gay marriage and same-sex adoption are not legally recognized in Czechia. 

Do you think that Czechia should join the lawsuit against Hungary's anti-LGBTQ+ laws?

Yes 70 %
No 30 %
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LGBTQ+ people still marginalized in Czechia

Although Czechia has a comparatively more progressive outlook on gay rights compared to its former Eastern Bloc neighbors, it is still troubled by anti-LGBTQ+ sentiment. For example, a 2022 study cited by representatives of the Czech National Institute of Mental Health showed that 52 percent of LGBTQ+ people said expressions of hatred and aversion toward them in public were widespread.

According to pro-LGBTQ+ association Rainbow Europe, Czechia ranks 32nd out of 49 countries in Europe for providing full freedom to the LGBTQ+ national community. 

Protecting women under the Istanbul Convention

The Czech president also spoke of ratifying the Istanbul Convention, which the Czech government has repeatedly delayed discussion of. 

When speaking of a planned meeting with Fiala and the president of Czechia’s Senate, Pavel told Hospodářské noviny: “The first thing I will do is to ask them what is preventing the Istanbul Convention from being ratified without delay.”

Over one-fifth of women in Czechia over 15 years old have experienced physical and/or sexual violence from a partner. Furthermore, there were 219 cases of domestic violence reported in Prague last year – from 102 in 2021. 

Although the Czech president is unable to draft or propose bills on his own, public criticism could prompt the Czech government to impose new changes that will better protect the LBGTQ+ community and women in Czechia.

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