Why this story matters:
On June 22, 46 Czech lawmakers co-sponsored a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage.
Prime Minisiter Andrej Babiš announced his government's support of the measure. None of the representatives of the Christian Democratic Union party (KDU-CSL), the Civic Democratic Party (ODS) or the extreme right party, SPD support the bill.
Despite the government’s support, the draft legislation must still be debated by parliament before being passed.
Lawmakers have not stated when that discussion will take place and, considering the Babiš administration's troubled start, it could take time. But the bill only requires a simple majority vote to be passed and support in the parliament is high.
16 Western European countries currently grant marriage equality to LGBT+ people, but, except for previously communist East Germany, other former Eastern Bloc countries have not. Belarus, Bulgaria, Georgia, and Ukraine have even outlawed same-sex unions. Romania is also considering a ban.
If the bill passes it could be a significant victory for LGBT+ rights in Eastern Europe.
Details from the story:
- Czechia has allowed gay and lesbian couples to enter into registered partnerships since 2006. However, if same-sex marriage is introduced, civil unions would be abolished.
- Same-sex married couples would have rights relating to matrimonial property, entitlement to widow’s/widower’s pension, rights and responsibilities concerning children, etc.
- The draft will go to the Chamber of Deputies with the support of the Cabinet.
- A group of 37 lawmakers want to amend the Constitution to make same-sex marriage illegal, but they must gain 120 supporting votes in parliament.
- Unlike neighbouring Poland and Slovakia, where the Catholic church has enormous influence, Czechia is one of the most secular societies in Europe. Religious organizations have little influence on social issues.
- Czech polls in May show that 50% of respondents support gay marriage; 74% expressed support for same-sex partnerships.