Czech Republic parliament delays same-sex marriage debate

The legalisation of same-sex marriage in the Czech Republic has been postponed again. The amendment of the civil code, which would bring equal opportunities to gay and lesbian couples and to the children they raise, was due to be debated by parliament on October 31. However, the debate did not take place.

The proposal to amend the civil code was first put forward in June by a group of 46 deputies headed by MP Radka Maxová, and had already gained support from almost the entire political spectrum.

“Despite the fact that the Czech Republic has recognised registered partnerships since 2006, full equality for same-sex couples is still missing. This gap in legislation not only affects the couples but their families and relatives as well,” commented Michaela Pixová, a spokesperson for the group of deputies.

“This parliamentary debate is a real opportunity for the Czech Republic to become the first country in the post-communist block to break from its totalitarian legacy and give full recognition and equality to same-sex couples,” she added.

The 2006 law allows same-sex partners to live under an officially registered partnership with the same rights concerning inheritance and health care enjoyed by heterosexual married couples. However, it does not allow same-sex partners to marry and to adopt children as a couple.

“For 12 years, since 2006, there has been no improvement in the status of LGBT people and their families in the Czech Republic. It’s not just the gay and lesbian themselves, but also their relatives, friends and acquaintances who are making such a change,” said Czeslaw Walek, head of the Jsme Fér initiative (We are fair), which supports the LGBT+ community.

According to the Jsme fér campaign, 67 per cent of Czechs support marriage equality while 97 per cent of Czech gays and lesbians want the chance to get married.

“We will push to make sure that the proposal is debated in parliament November, so that it can move forward to the next stage,” said Adéla Horáková, legal representative for Jsme fér.

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