Matt Atlas

Is the Czech Republic on the verge of legalizing same-sex marriage?

ANO, Czech Republic, ODS, STAN

After the lower house of parliament passed a bill changing the Civil Code to enable same-sex couples to marry in the Czech Republic, President Milo Zeman stated he would veto it.

People of the same sex may soon be able to marry in the Czech Republic, according to a bill passed by the lower house of parliament altering the Civil Code.

One representative from each of the five deputy groups, Mayors and Independents (STAN), TOP 09, Pirates, Civic Democratic Party (ODS), and ANO, signed the proposal.

The proposal was not backed by the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) or the right-wing Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD), as expected, despite the fact that parties normally offer their MPs a free vote on such matters.

President Milos Zeman attempted to throw a wrench in the works by stating that if the measure was passed by parliament, he would veto it. However, Zeman, notorious for his harsh remarks regarding the LGBT population, is unlikely to be able to stop the measure from becoming law if it receives strong parliamentary support.

People of the same sex would have the same rights in marriage as a woman and a man under the amendment before the lower house, and registered partnerships would effectively disappear as an institution.

Under the plan, same-sex couples would have the same rights and obligations as opposite-sex spouses. This includes, for example, the right to widow’s and widower’s pensions, as well as rights and obligations towards the children they raise and access to social services.

Last December, an amendment that would have required Czech courts to recognize same-sex couples’ adoptions of children abroad failed to pass the Senate, the upper chamber.

Local courts currently recognize international adoptions by Czech nationals if they “would be acceptable within the substantive provisions of Czech law.” Last year’s failed Senate proposal and the most recent amendment introduced in the Chamber of Deputies both aim to remove this conditionality. It also applies to unmarried opposite-sex couples in specific cases.

The European Court of Justice declared in December that parental rights must be in all EU member states, including same-sex couples who adopt overseas.