Czech lawmakers approve same-sex marriage bill, opposition expected

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On Thursday, the lower house of the Czech parliament granted preliminary approval to a bill that would permit same-sex marriages. However, conservative lawmakers indicated that it may encounter opposition and potential modifications during subsequent discussions.

While same-sex marriage is legal in many countries in Western Europe, it remains illegal in significant portions of the central European countries that were formerly under communist rule.

For nearly twenty years, the Czech Republic, a member of the EU, has permitted registered partnerships for same-sex couples. However, this legal recognition does not grant them the ability to adopt children together, own property jointly, or receive pensions for widows or widowers.

During the debate, Marketa Pekarova-Adamova, a member of the junior ruling party TOP09' and a sponsor of the bill, expressed her opinion that the situation appears lacking in dignity.

LGBTQ+ individuals and couples are subject to the same tax obligations as heterosexual individuals or couples and face similar challenges as everyone else. However, there is a specific law in place to address their unique circumstances.

She recognised that there were people who opposed the bill and mentioned that certain aspects of it were still open to discussion.

The bill was not rejected in its first reading despite efforts from conservative lawmakers, as it received a 58-68 vote. After this, it will proceed to be discussed in committees, where amendments can be suggested and reviewed, before being brought back for a final vote.

Following that, it would be necessary for it to pass through the Senate's upper house before reaching the president, who has indicated his approval.

Jiri Navratil, a member of the ruling coalition and a Christian Democrat lawmaker who identifies as gay, expressed his support for expanding rights and mentioned that his party also backs same-sex couples.

"In our perspective, the boundary that cannot be crossed is the concept of marriage, which we view as a union exclusively between a man and a woman," he stated in an interview with Czech Radio earlier this month.

According to a recent opinion poll conducted by the CVVM agency in May, it was found that 58% of Czechs support the idea of granting same-sex couples the right to marry. Additionally, a majority of respondents also expressed their agreement with allowing these couples to adopt.

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