Lawyers call for strengthening laws protecting the LGBTQ+ community in Czechia

Opinion polls show a large number of Czechs are in favor of same-sex marriage.

Thomas Smith

Written by Thomas Smith Published on 14.10.2022 14:26:00 (updated on 14.10.2022) Reading time: 2 minutes

A legal organization in Prague, In Iustitia, called for a change to the Czech Penal Code to ensure better protection for the LGBTQ+ community in Czechia, ČTK reports.

This comes directly after a tragic shooting near an LGBTQ+ club in Bratislava, Slovakia, killing two young men and injuring one female. Slovak police say that the crime was motivated by hate and anti-LGBTQ+ sentiment, according to Reuters. The assailant was found to have written a manifesto against the LGBTQ+ and Jewish community, Slovak media report.

According to In Iustitia, "insults, threats and gibes, especially on social networks, are often played down, although they often wound the attacked [victim]." This doesn't mean "they are not less serious than other forms of prejudicial violence.”

"The Penal Code should be amended so that it may provide clear defense against the attacks over sexual orientation and gender identity. The attacks demonstrably occur, but the assailants are usually not fairly punished due to the absence of the relevant protective measures," In Iustitia said.

Although Czechia is generally viewed as the most progressive country for LGBTQ+ rights in the former eastern bloc, same-sex marriage is not legal in the country, and neither is fostering children.

In August last year, Czechia’s Chamber of Deputies rejected a bill to allow same-sex couples to foster children. Although a proposal to legalize same-sex marriage was made before the 2021 legislative elections, a spokesperson for the Christian Democrats party said that they would not support same-sex unions because “marriage is a crucial part of [life] for us and its meaning can not be changed," as cited by Euronews.

Opinion polls generally score positively for LGBTQ+ acceptance, with a 2020 opinion poll finding that over 65 percent of Czechs supported the idea of same-sex marriage, according to Euronews. The Czech Council for Children and Youth found last year that 11 percent of Czechs objected to having a gay or lesbian neighbor, less than half than their Slovak counterparts.

A 2021 study by Rainbow Europe, a pro-LGBTQ+ research company, found that Czechia ranked 32nd out of 49 European countries in their annual review of LGBTQ+ human rights. The ranking aggregates various categories, such as equality and nondiscrimination, legal gender recognition, and hate crime and speech.

Czech politicians have previously been accused of homophobic and discriminatory rhetoric. President Miloš Zeman named trans people “disgusting” in June last year and “compared gender-affirming medical care to self-harm,” Rainbow Europe noted.

Politicians from the ANO movement and Christian Democrats were also critical of the annual Prague Pride event being financially supported by the state, wrote.

Anti-LGBTQ+ attacks have occurred in the country. Last April, a gay couple were the victims of a hate-motivated attack for holding hands.

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