Prague, Czech Republic – A vast majority of Czechs is in favour of allowing same-sex couples to marry, a new survey has found, confirming previous studies portraying the Czech Republic as one of the most liberal countries in Central and Eastern Europe when it comes to LGBT rights.
Two-thirds of Czechs support same-sex marriage
According to a Median agency poll released last week, two-thirds of Czech adults (67%) support introducing same-sex marriage, a slight increase compared to the previous year and all-time high. The survey also showed that four-fifths of respondents (78%) are in favour of allowing homosexuals to adopt the biological child of their partner.
Although representing only a small minority, opposition to same-sex marriage has slightly increased over the past year, with 15% of respondents strongly opposed to introducing gay marriage in the Czech Republic.
While women, younger people and inhabitants of the Bohemian region harbour the most progressive views on same-sex marriage, support stands lower among men, elderly people and Czech citizens living in Moravia – but remains at more than 50% in all groups.
“The most surprising result from the survey is the increase of support for equal marriage among the age group from 35 to 54”, Filip Milde, spokesman for the ‘Jsme Fer’ organization, told Radio Prague. “We see it as the most crucial movement in public support”. Spearheading pro-LGBT efforts in the Czech Republic, ‘Jsme Fer’ (We are Fair) last year gathered more than 70,000 signatures for their petition urging lawmakers to legalize same-sex marriage.
A long-standing issue in liberal Czech Republic
While the Czech Republic was the first post-communist country in Europe to adopt a law on registered partnerships for same-sex couples in 2006, debate on gay marriage has been lingering on for years, dashing hopes of many activists who have been pushing for the Czech Republic to become the first Central and Eastern European country to legalize same sex-marriage.
The Czech lower house of Parliament started discussing a draft to legalize same-sex marriage in November 2018 and resumed debates in March 2019, without any formal vote on the matter. A counter-proposal presented by 37 MPs advocated in favour of including the definition of marriage as the union between as man and a woman in the Czech constitution.
Last year, President Milos Zeman also vowed to use his veto right if the Czech Parliament passed a bill legalizing gay marriage – a veto that can be overruled by a simple majority of lawmakers. Last September, hundreds of Czechs marched in the streets of Prague to defend “traditional family” values and model.
Prime Minister Andrej Babis has, on the contrary, previously argued that same-sex couples should have the same rights as heterosexual ones.