On International Day of Homophobia, Czechia grapples with same-sex marriage legalization

Although the public generally supports it, some parties of the ruling coalition are opposed to same-sex marriage in Czechia.

Thomas Smith

Written by Thomas Smith Published on 17.05.2023 12:00:00 (updated on 17.05.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

Czech lawmakers have so far failed to start a discussion about legalizing same-sex marriage despite being included in the government’s agenda Tuesday. The topic is all the more salient because today is the International Day Against Homophobia.

The MPs may formally discuss the issue today. Civil partnerships in Czechia are allowed, but same-sex marriage continues to be technically illegal.

On the agenda

Members of parliament (MPs) from the more conservative, family-oriented parties in the coalition – the Civic Democrats and Christian Democrats – opted to postpone discussion on the matter. The Pirate Party, which is also in government, and the opposition ANO movement wanted to get talks underway.

Pro-LGBTQ+ organization Jsme fér said: "It’s good that marriage for all couples is on the agenda of the Chamber of Deputies, which should vote on the law as soon as possible." Jsme fér is tracking the situation closely.

The state of LGBTQ+ rights in Czechia

  • A 2022 study showed that 52 percent of LGBTQ+ people said expressions of hatred and aversion toward them in public were widespread.
  • Offensive statements by political representatives are considered widespread by 71 percent of people, up from 43 percent in 2018.
  • Over half of Czechs support the joint adoption of children by gay and lesbian couples.
  • Every second LGBTQ+ person has encountered a verbal or physical attack, yet just 9 percent of victims reported them to the authorities.
  • A 2020 poll found that 67 percent of Czechs believed homosexuals and lesbians should have the right to get married.
  • According to Rainbow Europe, Czechia ranks 33rd out of 49 European countries in its annual review of LGBTQ+ human rights.
  • Forty-four percent of men in Czechia believe same-sex marriage should not even be discussed. Sources: Rainbow Europe, Jsme fér, A2larm.cz, Seznam Zprávy

Marginalization due to non-marriage

Not being allowed to marry causes issues for same-sex couples in a variety of ways: gay and lesbian couples “can not jointly own property,” have “full inheritance rights,” or have “joint rights to their children,” ČTK writes

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.

Same-sex couples also cannot jointly adopt children or be foster parents. They also cannot apply to a widow and widower’s pension. According to the Jsme fér website, there are over 100 legal differences between marriage and registered partnership.

Current govt. unenthusiastic on same-sex marriage

A proposed same-sex marriage equality bill was presented to parliament in June 2018. It was passed in the spring of 2021, but talks ceased as a result of the altered makeup of the government following the October 2021 legislative elections. The Senate rejected in December 2021 a proposal that would have made the adoption of children by same-sex couples lawful.

Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala has previously voiced a belief that marriage should be between a man and a woman. This sentiment is echoed by the Christian Democrats.

The majority of the public supports same-sex marriage, and it is now the government's responsibility to enact a seismic law for Czechia, one that would greatly improve the lives of thousands of individuals in the country.

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