The Czech Republic expands unions for same-sex couples but rejects marriage and full adoption rights

The decision does not offer the same rights to LGBTQ+ couples. (Getty)

The Czech Republic government has expanded unions for same-sex couples but has rejected marriage and full adoption rights for the queer community in the country. 

On 28 February, the lower house of Parliament rejected the possibility of those in the queer community marrying but has extended existing unions called partnerships for queer couples.

The new bill, passed in a 123-36 vote, would give more rights to same-sex couples, including some adoption rights.

Currently, the law does not allow partners to jointly adopt a child, own property together or even receive a widows’ or widowers’ pension.

Under the revised bill, joint adoption would be possible but only if one of the partners is a biological parent to that child.

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

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The legislation has yet to receive approval from the Senate and President Petr Pavel before it is signed into law. Pavel entered office last year and shared his support for same-sex marriage.

Following the debate, President Pavel took to X (formerly Twitter) to release a statement, telling citizens that his belief in LGBTQ+ rights is unwavering. 

“I recognize the principle of freedom and equality of every person from the point of view of law and see no reason to limit rights based on sexual orientation,” he wrote.

“I believe we are a tolerant society and we will rectify these rights as soon as possible. There is no change in this position of mine.”

The Jsme Fer (We are Fair) group which campaigns for same-sex marriage said on X (formerly Twitter) that the decision “is a sad day for justice and equality in our country”. 

“Despite the clear majority support for marriage for all in the Czech Republic, [Parliament] did not adopt this law.”

Parliament approved a law in 2006 allowing same-sex couples to live together in an official partnership. This gave queer couples the right to inheritance and healthcare to those similarly afforded to heterosexual married couples.

Last year, 58 per cent of Czechs believed that same-sex couples should have the right to marry, while an even larger number said they should be allowed to adopt, as per the CVVM agency.

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