Chamber of Deputies To Debate Same-Sex Marriage This Week

The bill to legalise same-sex marriage is awaiting its first reading. Photo credit: Freepik.

Prague, May 30 (CTK) – The Czech Chamber of Deputies may start discussing the possible introduction of marriage for same-sex couples this week. The issue was put on the agenda for the upcoming parliamentary session by MPs yesterday, on the proposal of Chamber head Marketa Pekarova Adamova (TOP 09). The bill to legalise same-sex marriage is awaiting its first reading.

At the same time, Marek Benda, head of the Civic Democrats’ (ODS) parliamentary group, pushed for the Chamber to also debate a constitutional amendment that would establish marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

The first proposal would amend the Civil Code so that same-sex couples would have the same rights in marriage as opposite-sex couples already have, including the creation of common property, entitlement to widow’s and widower’s pensions, rights and obligations to the children they raise, and access to substitute family care. Registered partnerships, which are currently available to same-sex couples, would virtually disappear as an institution.

The second bill is a constitutional amendment to the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms, which would enshrine marriage in law as the union of a man and a woman.

“It would be good to discuss both bills at the same time,” Benda said.

In yesterday’s debate, the opposition ANO and Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) failed to have other items put on the session’s agenda. Their main demands were that the session should include discussion of this year’s budget, or the government’s draft budget consolidation package.

Discussion of the budget was advocated by ANO parliamentary group chair Alena Schillerova, as previously. She argued that neither the revenues nor the expenditures of the draft package presented by Finance Minister Zbynek Stanjura (ODS) corresponded to reality.

“We are undoubtedly awaiting an amendment to the state budget law,” Schillerova said.

Tomio Okamura, leader of the far-right SPD, accused the five-party coalition government of Petr Fiala (ODS) of arrogance with regards to the budget negotiations, and described the draft package as a large-scale tax reform that will increase taxes for everyone.

There were also other proposals from the opposition to change the agenda; the debate over all the proposals took about two hours, including the vote.

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