Prague photo exhibit highlights same-sex couples' lack of rights in Czechia

The photo gallery showcases the stories of 10 different LGBTQ+ families who have faced issues due to Czechia's legislation.

Thomas Smith

Written by Thomas Smith Published on 06.12.2022 13:00:00 (updated on 08.12.2022) Reading time: 3 minutes

A new photo exhibition that aims to draw attention to the lack of rights for same-sex couples in Czechia has opened in Prague. One of the organizations behind the initiative, “Jsme fér,” (We are fair in Czech) is calling for same-sex couples to be able to marry legally and raise children.

The exhibition is titled “Children and families who are not recognized” and is located inside Prague’s Masaryk railway station; it will run until the end of December, according to its Facebook page.

As same-sex marriage is currently not recognized in Czechia, gay and lesbian couples “do not have joint property, full inheritance rights, or joint rights to their children,” ČTK writes. They also do not have access to alternative family care.

According to the Jsme fér website, there are over 100 legal differences between marriage and registered partnership.

The lack of rights for same-sex couples causes issues in raising children. For example, a parent in a same-sex union who is not a biological relative of a child has, technically, no rights to the child.

This exposes them to daily uncertainty, especially at times when "they need to provide their family with shared housing, a tragic event occurs, or if the family breaks up," said Czeslaw Walek, the director of Jsme fér, cited by ČTK.

The exhibition displays personal stories – told in captioned pictures – of 10 families with adults in same-sex partnerships (which were made legal in 2006) who have experienced hardship in their attempts to marry and raise children.

SAME-SEX RIGHTS in Czechia: A mixed picture

  • A 2020 poll found that 67 percent of Czechs believed homosexuals should have the right to get married.
  • A 2021 report found that Czechia ranked 32nd out of 49 European countries in their annual review of LGBTQ+ human rights.
  • Same-sex partnerships should not be discussed according to 44 percent of men in Czechia, according to a 2022 study.

    Sources: Euronews, Rainbow Europe, and NMS Market Research.

In June 2018, a draft marriage equality bill for same-sex couples was introduced to parliament. It was passed in the spring of 2021, but discussions stalled as the government composition changed after the October 2021 legislative elections. 

In December 2021, an amendment that would have legally recognized same-sex couples’ adoption of children did not pass the Senate. 

The topic came to the fore of media attention when famous U.S.-based Czech snowboarder Šárka Pančochová stated that she would lose her parental rights if she came to the Czech Republic, as she is raising the child of her U.S. wife.

"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

Outgoing President Miloš Zeman has previously voiced his opposition to increasing LGBTQ+ rights, including those of same-sex couples, stating in 2021 that he would veto any laws on same-sex marriage. With a new president to take charge from January next year, approval of any law granting same-sex couples more rights is more likely.

Current Prime Minister Petr Fiala, however, has previously declared his belief that marriage is between a man and a woman, as have many of his party members in the Civic Democratic Party. The KDU-ČSL, part of the ruling coalition, has also made clear its opposition to same-sex marriage and adoption. 

With the current conservative government generally opposed to expanding the marriage and adoption rights of gay and lesbian couples, it is uncertain when same-sex couples will be able to get the same rights as heterosexuals. In the meantime, the new exhibition in Prague hopes to raise awareness of the issue.

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