Feb 29, 2024

Czech Lawmakers Approve More Rights for Same-Sex Couples

The Czech Chamber of Deputies approved an amendment granting same-sex couples partnership rights akin to marriage, barring child adoption unless one partner is a biological parent.

After months of sharp debate, a scaled-backed version of the bill made it through Wednesday’s vote.

“The existing registered partnership institution is not satisfactory,” one of the bill’s sponsors, Josef Bernard, said in the debate. “It should be expanded, on that there is agreement in the lower house.”

An opinion poll from the CVVM agency last year indicated that 58% of Czechs believed same-sex couples should have the right to marry, and even more said they should be allowed to adopt.

Under the revised bill, joint adoption will be possible only if one of the partners is a biological parent.

For children adopted by a same-sex partner, this would mean that they would have to go through the adoption process with the first parent, who would then receive full parental rights as an individual and then go through the same process again to be co-adopted by the parent’s partner.

Jsme fér argues that such a process could cause psychological distress to the child and the whole family. It would also create an administrative burden for the state and the courts.

The bill now goes to the Czech Senate, the upper chamber of the Czech parliament.

The resulting vote is seen as a compromise between liberal politicians – namely STAN (unaffiliated) and Pirates (Greens/EFA), who demanded equal rights for same-sex couples, and conservative politicians – such as ODS (ECR) and KDU-ČSL (EPP), who rejected such changes.

“It’s a sad day for thousands of families with kids who have two mothers or two fathers and for hundreds of thousands of LGBT people,” the Jsme Fer (We are Fair) group, which campaigns for same-sex marriage, said on the X platform.

President Petr Pavel had said on X that he saw “no reason to limit legal rights based on sexual orientation”.

According to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, around three dozen countries in the world have made same-sex marriage legal since the Netherlands did so in 2001.

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