Back in 2006, the Czech Republic became the first post-communist country in the European Union to adopt a “registered partnership” law, granting same-sex couples the same rights as heterosexual ones in such a union. But under current Czech law, gays and lesbians cannot marry here. Jsme fér, an NGO that helped introduce legislation to change that, says a new poll shows widespread – and steadily growing – public support to introduce same-sex marriages.
Support among Czechs for introducing same-sex marriage into law has risen to 67 percent, according to the MEDIAN agency survey published on Thursday. The group Jsme fér, or “We’re Fair” in English, says the research also shows that the vast majority of Czechs, across all regions and under the age of 55, agree gays and lesbians should have equal rights to marry.
I asked Jsme fér spokesperson Filip Milde what the NGO views as the most surprising, encouraging and disappointing results from the Median survey.
“The most surprising result from the survey is the increase of support for equal marriage among the age group from 35 to 54. We see it as the most crucial movement in public support. So this is something that we are very happy about.
“The most encouraging is that we also see an increase in support for adoption of children by gay and lesbian couples, families – both of a child of one partner by the other in the relationship [77 percent], and of a child from an institution [62 percent].
“And the most disappointing result is that the older generation, people over 55, are confirming their conservative views; and we see a strengthening of their opposition to equal marriage. On the other hand, this group is quite small compared to those who support it.”
Why is support from middle-aged people is so crucial? Is it because they tend to be the most politically active and could push to get the second reading in Parliament?
“Well, we believe – and we can see it in the survey results – that the support is connected to how they view families. The increase in support for adoptions is related to that. These are people who have their own families already, who have kids. So, they understand the value and importance of having a family.
“And when we look at the support across regions, there is also an interesting trend: the support among people in Prague and in surrounding areas in Bohemia is pretty much the same, or it’s moving in the same direction. So, when people say, ‘Oh, this is how people in Prague think’ – because it’s the capital and a big city; we can show that it’s not true.”
The Czech Republic was the first post-communist country in the European Union member to adopt a registered partnership law, back in 2006. In the past 14 years, MPs have twice debated an equal marriage bill, most recently in March 2019. That debate lasted seven hours – but no vote was taken.
Last year, the opposition Christian Democrat party filed a bill to introduce a ban on equal marriage in the Czech Constitution. Filip Milde of Jsme fér says they and other conservative parties – the Civic Democrats and Freedom and Direct Democracy party – could try to postpone a vote indefinitely by filibustering.
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