Gay marriage not likely in Czech Republic

By Nicole Klement

On Thursday the Czech lower parliamentary chamber dismissed the third motion to pass a draft law that grants equal rights to same sex partnerships. The proposed law, if it had been passed, would have granted same sex partners the same rights available to heterosexual marriages. If passed it would have legalize homosexual partnerships, allowed same sex marriages and cleared the way for surviving partner inheritance, tax allowances and the right to find out information about the condition of their partner when in hospital The parliamentary deputies who opposed the law claimed it would have weakened traditional family values in the Czech Republic. Supporters of the law claim it is unfair that part of the population has fewer rights simply because of their sexual orientation.

The proposed law was dismissed largely due to efforts by the Christian Democrats - the country's only religious political party - who bitterly opposed legalisation of same-sex marriage on moral grounds. However, the Social democrats -the party who originally proposed the bill- were not unified in Thursday's parliamentary session and 46 of the 50 members voted to dismiss the bill. It is most likely, that the bill will no longer resurface since there will be no time to make amendments before upcoming elections- next year.

Radio Prague's Nicole Klement spoke with Petr Necas from the the Civic Democrat Party, about his parties views on the bill.....

"I am absolutely sure that it is necessary to create a stable environment for our families. So, I don't think that it is necessary to create a framework that would give priviledges to "another" sort of relationship between two people. And this bill was about priviledge. I don't see any reason why we should talk only of the partnership between people of the same sex. I think that a suitable way to deal with this would be to create a legal framework between our civil codes where it would be possible to create a general framework for the co-operation of two people without any division of sex. This means the same framework would apply to same sex and heterosexual couples."

What would the reasons be that members of your party voted against the bill on same-sex partnership?

"It wasn't a vote against couples-absolutely not. It was a vote about families and the stability of families and whether it is suitable to create a priviledge for this kind of relationship. We don't see any reason to create a priviledge for specific kinds of relationships. As I have already said, I would like to see a general legal framework for all realtionships between two people. A framework for legal obligation, for duties between two people but without any priviledges only for couples of the same sex."

What type of solution would you suggest for same sex partners in the light of legal issues?

"As I have already said, the suitable way would be to create this general framework which would apply to parteners of the same sex."

What about when one partner is ill in the hospital and the other has no legal right to consent on their behalf?

"That is simply not true our current legal framework has created the possibility to obtain medical information and this issue relies on the behaviour of the doctor involved. Whether he is able to have a humane approach or not to have a humane approach."

And is it true that same sex partners here in the Czech Republic recieve the same sort of rights as as un-wed hereosexual couples?

"Practically yes. It is possible to say that all unmarried couples have the same rights."

Author: Nicole Klement
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