Czech president signs law granting same-sex couples more rights – but not marriage

Under the new law, same-sex civil partnerships will have more of the rights that traditional marriages do, although rules on child adoption will differ. Staff ČTK

Written by StaffČTK Published on 29.04.2024 15:21:00 (updated on 29.04.2024) Reading time: 2 minutes

President Petr Pavel has today signed into law a new bill that changes the rights of same-sex couples in civil partnerships in Czechia. The amendment, which resulted from compromise agreements in the Chamber of Deputies, will give same-sex civil partnerships most of the rights that married couples have – but crucially, not all.

Enhanced property, inheritance, adoption rights

The key changes to this law, which won’t come into effect till next year, will give LGBTQ+ couples in a civil partnership joint property rights and an entitlement to a widow's or widower's pension after the loss of a partner. 

The amendment will, crucially, also allow the adoption of a child if one of the partners is the child's biological parent. However, it does not grant full adoption rights to same-sex couples (such as to children under institutional care). A parliamentary vote in February saw politicians in the Chamber of Deputies vote against giving same-sex couples marriage rights.

Progress, but more can be done

According to government Human Rights Commissioner Klára Šimáčková Laurenčíková, while the amendment is a step forward in terms of recognition and rights for same-sex couples and their families, it does not guarantee complete equality. The pro-marriage-equality Jsme fér organization also sees the amendment as an intermediate step – but not enough.

"This new norm will certainly improve the situation for gay and lesbian couples and rainbow families with children," said Jsme fér spokesperson Filip Milde. "However, it is important to note that it does not guarantee them equality and full recognition in society." Milde also pointed out that the amendment marks the first time that families with two mothers or two fathers and their children will be legally recognized in the Czech Republic.

In response to the government’s February vote against same-sex marriage and full adoption rights for gay or lesbian couples, Jsme fér wrote: “It is a sad day for thousands of families with children who have two moms or two dads and hundreds of thousands of LGBTQ+ people. It is a sad day for justice and equality in our country."

A recent poll by research firms Nielsen and Publicis Groupe found that 80 percent of Czechs believed that allowing same-sex marriage would not affect their daily lives. A separate survey from NMS Market Research revealed that half of Czechs support the idea of giving all same-sex couples in the country the same rights as heterosexual, married couples.

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