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Czech Government Likely to Be Neutral on Proposed Changes to Gay Partnerships

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According to the documents prepared for Wednesday’s meeting, the Government is likely to adopt a neutral stance on the rights of homosexual couples, as proposed by a group of KDU-ČSL MPs. The People’s Party has suggested an amendment to the Registered Partnership Act and other laws, aiming to grant homosexual partners nearly the same property and social rights as married couples. However, the amendment does not address parental rights, a concern raised in the government’s preliminary opinion on the matter.

Government legislators view the revision of the registered partnership law as a step towards equalizing the rights of LGBT+ individuals, but they believe it falls short. The government’s preliminary opinion, drafted by government lawyers under Pirate Minister Michal Solomon, highlights that due to the continued differentiation between marriage and civil partnership, the proposed bill will not make these institutions fully equivalent in all aspects. The Pirates are advocating for same-sex couples to have the option to marry.

Government documents reveal that the People’s Party amendment not only fails to address some mutual rights, including parental rights, but also the obligations that spouses share. Additionally, the proposed amendments do not encompass all necessary changes to other laws to reflect the intent of equalizing partnership and marriage. Nevertheless, the drafters argue that the suggested changes would significantly strengthen the rights of cohabiting partners and fully institutionalize same-sex unions.

Under the People’s Amendment, people of the same sex would enter into a civil partnership instead of a registered partnership, in a ceremony similar to a civil marriage. The proposal also includes amendments to various laws to address property and social rights of partners. The property and legal relations of the partnership would mirror those of matrimonial property law, including the creation of a community property for partners. This provision aims to establish a balanced property arrangement in the partnership and during its dissolution. Moreover, the amendment would enable joint insolvency proceedings under the Insolvency Act and joint membership of a housing cooperative, including the transfer of the cooperative share to the surviving partner. In social matters, the partners would be entitled to a widow’s or widower’s pension, as well as compensation and death benefits if a partner died in the line of duty as a soldier or member of the security forces.

The sponsors of the amendment emphasize that if it is adopted, various legal provisions will require adjustments to accommodate the changes.

The People’s draft will undergo discussion by the Government before its first reading in Parliament. Additionally, a proposal to legalize marriage for homosexuals and constitutionally protect marriage as a union between a man and a woman is currently under consideration for the second reading in the Chamber of Deputies, scheduled for November at the earliest.

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