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Czech Government Supports Marriage Equality Bill

First Move Toward Equal Marriage Rights in a Post-Communist Country

The Czech government expressed support on Friday for a same-sex marriage bill, sponsored by 46 members of parliament from various political parties.

Campaigners for same-sex marriage during Prague Pride, Czech Republic, August 12, 2017. © 2017 Boris Dittrich/Human Rights Watch

Czeslaw Walek, founder of the Czech marriage equality movement Jsme Fer (We are Fair), has been campaigning for marriage equality since 2016. He told Human Rights Watch that the government’s move was important because 37 conservative members of Parliament had submitted a bill a few days earlier to change the Constitution to include a provision limiting marriage to a union between a man and a woman.

Both bills and the government’s opinion will be discussed in the lower house of parliament, the Chamber of Deputies. If the majority votes for the marriage equality bill, it will be submitted to the Senate. Walek believes the Senate, which has veto power over all bills, is more conservative than the Chamber of Deputies on the issue of marriage equality but he was still hopeful the bill would pass.

 If the bill passes in the Senate, it will go to President Milos Zeman, who can either approve or veto the bill. He hasn’t made his position public.

Walek told Human Rights Watch: “The path is long and curvy, but we are hopeful. The best-case scenario is that we will celebrate marriage equality in the Czech Republic during the Pride March of August 2019.” 

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