Culture minister stokes controversy with lifelong marriage proposal
The Christian Democrat Culture Minister Václav Jehlička has stoked controversy by suggesting an amendment to the countries marriage code that would allow for what appear to be binding religious marriages with no option of divorce.
However, Jan Cieslar, a spokesperson for minister Jehlička insists that this proposal is being overblown by the media and is just one of a large number of entirely reasonable measures that his boss has put forward:
“This proposal came at a time when it appeared that the Justice Ministry was seriously considering the abolition of religious marriages. From our perspective, this would represent a step backwards because it was the communists that first abolished this practice. So in the context of this seeming change, we moved to enable people of faith to have an alternative to civil marriages – the kind that would enable them to have a kind of higher level agreement, which would be entirely voluntary and no-one, would be forced to take part in it.”
“I think that that is completely over the top and taken out of context. It was nothing more than a reaction to the apparent end of church weddings. You used the word Talibanisation, when in fact I think that abolishing religious weddings would be a kind of reverse Talibanisation.”
Proponents of the scheme point to similar arrangements in the US states of Louisiana and Arkansas (known as covenant marriages) and say that the party is simply trying to preserve the sanctity of marriage. But ultimately, in a wider context, this may be viewed by some as a singular attempt by the Christian Democrats, hovering dangerously close to falling below the 5 percent threshold to gain parliamentary representation, of rallying a clearly dwindling base of voters in a largely socially liberal country.