Czech Republic takes first step toward legal gay marriage
Danny McCoy | December 20, 2005
PRAGUE, Czech Republic — The lower house of the Czech parliament approved a law legalizing civil partnerships for same-sex couples on Friday, in spite of strong opposition inside Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek's coalition government.
The Christian Democrats, the second largest group in the three-party government, refused to support the legislation, arguing that it damaged the traditional perception of the family.
However, many Communist Party deputies sided with Paroubek's left-wing Social Democrats, the main government party, to approve the bill, which could face a rough ride in the opposition-dominated Senate.
According to a lower house press official, 86 of the 147 deputies present voted in favor of the law while 54 were against and the rest abstained. Fifty-three others were not present during the vote.
According to Reuters, Paroubek supported the law, though he cound not attend because of a European Union summit.
The new rules allow same-sex couples to officially register their relationship. It also allows access to information on the health of a gay partner.
If the Senate rejects the legislation, the lower house can override it with an absolute majority of 101 in the 200-seat lower house.
Earlier this year, Spain legalized gay marriage. The Netherlands and Belgium also both allow gay marriage while a law legalizing same-sex unions goes into effect in the United Kingdom this coming week. – Issued by Gay Link Content
Homosexual relationship registration bill dies in Latvian parliament [30/11/1999]