Lidovci Offer Same Rights to Gays, But Not Marriage

Lidovečtí poslanci, members of the Czech Republic’s Christian and Democratic Union – Czechoslovak People’s Party, have traditionally been among the most prominent opponents of the law allowing homosexuals to marry. They are proposing a compromise where same-sex couples would be granted all rights and the possibility of a regular marriage, except for child adoption. The partnership would be recognized as a partnership but not registered as before.

The proposal was prepared by Jiří Navrátil, who some time ago became the first member of parliament to identify himself as part of the LGBT community. All party members have agreed upon the compromise proposal. Navrátil believes it could also be acceptable to the opposition parties since most support equal rights, and the only issue is the name. Even the opposition ANO party has promised to negotiate on the compromise proposal. However, the far-right SPD party is fundamentally against it.

The compromise proposal will be discussed at the end of June when the first reading of the proposal by TOP 09, STAN, ODS, Pirates, and some members of ANO is expected to be completed. If the clubs agree, they could introduce the Lidovec compromise and send it to the next round.

The head of the ODS club, Marek Benda, who opposes marriage for gays and lesbians, said that the Lidovec proposal is a possible entry into the discussion. He also said two red lines, namely the name and child adoption by same-sex couples, cannot be crossed until alternative motherhood is solved.

Similarly, Eva Decroix, vice-chairman of the ODS club, who would like to support a more liberal proposal, sees an opportunity for agreement in the Lidovec solution. She said, “If this compromise is a way to solve the situation, I will not block it.”

However, the sticking point of the compromise proposal may be that it does not include adoption. According to Navrátil, adopting the partner’s children will be possible. The speaker of the Chamber of Deputies and TOP 09, Markéta Pekarová Adamová, wrote that she is working to align all rights, and the partnership is called marriage. Still, she considers the adoption issue crucial, which is not included in the Lidovec proposal. For this reason, she is promoting the proposal to change the Civil Code.

Pirate MP Klára Kocmanová told Právo that she disagrees with same-sex couples’ inability to adopt children. “Parental rights are one of the main pillars we fight for,” she said. She added that couples already take care of children and face obstacles, such as in hospitals. “As for the name of marriage, from a symbolic point of view, it would not be happy to deny it to them. But if we agree on everything else, I am willing to discuss it, though reluctantly,” she added.

STAN MP Barbora Urbanová is more radical. “As long as it is called something other than marriage, it will simply remain discrimination,” she wrote on Twitter.

Like MPs, the homosexual community is also divided. “Many would like to move things forward because we’ve stood still for 17 years. Then there is a group that says either everything or nothing. But this is not possible in politics,” Navrátil commented.

According to the proposal promoted by Pirates, TOP 09, STAN, and some members of ANO, people of the same sex should have the same rights in marriage as women and men do now. It includes the creation of a common fund, inheritance rights, widows’ and widowers’ pensions, rights and obligations to children they raise, and access to alternative family care.

In the Chamber of Deputies, another group of lawmakers, such as Lidovec and part of the ODS, is waiting for the first reading, proposing constitutional protection of marriage as a union between a man and a woman, seen as a competing proposal against marriage for homosexuals. According to Navrátil, their proposal conflicts with possible constitutional changes and is not feasible.

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