Czech society divided on same-sex rights as marriage-for-all debate stalls

Same-sex marriage and adoption are still illegal in Czechia, meaning that gay couples are deprived of the same rights as heterosexual couples.

Thomas Smith

Written by Thomas Smith Published on 29.11.2023 15:25:00 (updated on 29.11.2023) Reading time: 3 minutes

A survey conducted by NMS Market Research finds that half of Czechs support the idea of giving all same-sex couples in the country the same rights as heterosexual, married couples.

The poll found that 28 percent of Czechs advocated for the full equalization of rights, including the legalization of same-sex marriage, while 22 percent said gay couples should have the same rights but under a different name, such as a “partnership.”

Demographic differences

Older generations in particular were less likely to support rights for same-sex couples – the majority of those in favor of giving them more legal protection shied away from accepting the term “marriage.” Younger generations and people with university degrees were more likely to approve of additional rights for homosexual couples.

Supporters of the right-wing opposition ANO and Freedom and Direct Democracy more often rejected additional rights for same-sex unions. On the flip side, voters of the incumbent Pirates party, Mayors and Independents, and TOP 09 most frequently cited support for the full equalization of rights, including allowing same-sex marriage.

Czech same-sex legislation still behind

Czechia currently has a difficult relationship with legal protection for same-sex couples. Gay couples can be in a civil partnership, but cannot marry. Same-sex couples are also unable to adopt – this means that children raised by a same-sex couple at present only have one “official” parent. 

The lack of rights for same-sex couples poses issues for inheritance, custody, property rights, pensions, and more. For example, they cannot jointly own property or be eligible for a widow's or widower's pension.

According to the Jsme fér organization that promotes equality for same-sex couples, there are over 100 legal differences between marriage and registered partnership. The initiative continues to campaign for homosexual couples to get the exact same rights as heterosexual ones. “Acceptance of equal marriage is not only a matter of law but also of basic values ​​of human justice for all couples and families with children,” says Jsme fér.

"Marriage is the culmination of a relationship between two people who love and support each other…that should be available to all adults."

Jsme fér website

Will same-sex marriage ever be legal in Czechia?

Last week, the Chamber of Deputies constitutional committee failed to take a concrete stance on a proposal put forth by a group of members of parliament aiming to legalize marriage for same-sex couples due to an insufficient number of votes.

In a similar vein, the legal committee in the lower house recently failed to support a proposal that would allow same-sex couples to form a partnership with the exact same rights as married couples. 

The government did, however, make progress earlier this year when it passed a draft amendment – during its first reading – to the Czech Civil Code that would legalize same-sex marriage. There is some way to go before this ever becomes law, though, as it still needs to go through a second reading.

A conflicted government

The current coalition has, at present, a lukewarm and undecided stance on giving further rights to same-sex couples. Although the government has made some steps – such as allowing the issuance of birth certificates for children of same-sex parents – it has a long road ahead.

Some coalition parties’ reluctance to make headway on granting further rights to same-sex will likely pose issues. The Christian Democrats have outright refused to support the idea of marriage for homosexual couples, and Prime Minister Petr Fiala of the Civic Democrats previously voiced a belief that marriage should be between a man and a woman.

As Czech lawmakers grapple with legislative amendments that would make Czechia more progressive and align it with other Western countries, the survey underlines the many differences in Czech society when it comes to views on same-sex marriage.

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