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Gov’t backs bill on adoption of children in same-sex couples

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Prague, Oct 24 (CTK) – The Czech government wants to enable homosexuals to adopt the children of their partner in a same-sex couple, Local Development Minister Karla Slechtova (for ANO) has written on Twitter, referring to the cabinet’s approval of the relevant draft amendment to the homosexual partnership law yesterday.
The change, aimed to enhance the legal security of children living in registered same-sex couples, has been discussed for several years now.
In the past, a similar proposal was made by a group of deputies. After a stormy exchange of opinions, the Chamber of Deputies interrupted the debate on it in July.
The new government-sponsored draft was submitted by Human Rights Minister Jiri Dienstbier (Social Democrats, CSSD) together with Justice Minister Robert Pelikan (ANO).
However, proposals like this have been steadily opposed by the third party in the centre-left coalition government, the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL), who defend the traditional family.
KDU-CSL chairman and Deputy Prime Minister Pavel Belobradek said after the cabinet meeting yesterday that his party considers the current legislation in this area sufficient and that the proposed amendment is unnecessary.
The KDU-CSL has three seats in the 17-seat cabinet, where the CSSD and ANO have eight and six seats, respectively.
Dienstbier said after the cabinet meeting that he expects opinions on the issue to vary in parliament, where each lawmaker might vote according to their conscience.
Belobradek emphasised that the KDU-CSL is not bound to back the draft amendment in the Chamber of Deputies because it is not a bill ensuing from the three parties’ coalition agreement.
For the first time, a bill enabling the adoption of the partner’s biological children by homosexuals was approved and submitted to parliament by the previous rightist government of Petr Necas (Civic Democrats, ODS), but the lawmakers could not complete the debate on it due to the cabinet’s early collapse.
In support of their proposal, Dienstbier and Pelikan argue that now the partner of a child’s biological parent does not have full-fledged rights or duties towards the child they bring up together. The partner has neither the right to information about the child’s health nor to the maintenance of contacts with the child if the biological parent died. The partner is not bound to pay alimonies if the couple breaks apart.
The process of adoption by the other partner should be the same as the adoption of a child by a parent’s second consort, who is not the child’s biological parent.
About a thousand children lived with same-sex parents in the Czech Republic in 2011, a census showed at the time. At present, their number is probably higher, the PROUD organisation, which deals with LGBT-related issues, has told CTK.
According to the CVVM public opinion poll from June, more than 60 percent of Czechs would grant homosexuals the right to adopt the partner’s child, and about 30 percent are opposed to it.

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