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social sciences

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Prague  
 
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During the next decade the bill resurfaced several times. It came within two votes of approval in 1997. In 1999, the bill failed again. In February 2005, the bill failed yet again, this time by only one vote.

While most of the deputies for the Czech Social Democratic, Communist, and Freedom Union political parties consistently voted in favor of the bill, opposition was strong within the Civic Democratic Party, the largest right-wing party in the Czech Republic. Christian Democrats also opposed the bill, arguing that state recognition of same-sex partnerships threatened traditional family values and child rearing.

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Representatives of ten Christian churches in the Czech Republic also called on legislators to reject the bill, warning that it would "weaken family life and cause chaos in values, mainly in the young generation."

Nonetheless, on January 26, 2006, a new bill to create a domestic partner registry for same-sex couples was finally passed by the Czech parliament.

However, on February 16, 2006, President Vaclav Klaus, a co-founder of the Civic Democratic Party, vetoed the bill, arguing that the legislation amounted to "excessive regulation by the state of people's private lives."

Following the announcement of the veto, gay men and lesbians marched through the streets of Prague to the presidential palace in protest. The Czech glbtq-rights organization Gay Initiative called the veto "an act against democracy."

In response, on March 15, 2006, Prime Minister Jiøí Paroubek, a member of the Czech Social Democratic Party, successfully sought a parliamentary majority to override the veto. The law finally went into effect on July 1, 2006.

Same-sex couples who register as partners now have many of the same rights as legally married couples in the Czech Republic, including the right to an inheritance, the right to receive information about each other's health, and the option not to testify against each other in court.

The law, however, does not allow the adoption of children by same-sex partners.

By January 2008, nearly five hundred same-sex Czech couples had registered their partnerships.

GLBTQ Organizations

Ratification of the Czech Registered Partnership Act was the culmination of years of activism and lobbying. The first Czech glbtq-rights organization was the Gay and Lesbian Citizens of the Czech Republic. Founded in 1990 and headquartered in Prague, the group's main objective was to promote the passage of a same-sex partnership law. The organization was renamed the Gay Initiative in 2000.

When the registered partnership law went into effect in July, 2006, Jiøí Hromada, chairman of the Gay Initiative, stated that the group had achieved its goals and that it was "time for a younger generation of activists to take over and draft their own goals for the future." Consequently, the Gay Initiative formally ceased to exist on December 31, 2006.

Another glbtq-rights organization, the Gay and Lesbian League (GLL), with headquarters in Prague, continues to push for stronger glbtq rights in the Czech Republic. The GLL aims to make same-sex partnerships fully equal with heterosexual marriages. The group's major concerns for same-sex couples include adoption rights, the right to hold joint ownership of property, and the right to file taxes jointly.

Although anti-discrimination laws were passed in the Czech Republic in 2001, workplace discrimination against glbtq persons also continues to be a top concern for the GLL.

While there are as yet no formal pride events in the Czech Republic, the city of Prague hosts Mezipatra, the largest annual gay and lesbian film festival in Central and Eastern Europe. Founded in 2000, the festival, which takes place each year in November, showcases approximately 80 glbtq-themed features, shorts, and documentaries. The festival also includes a number of supporting events and guest speakers.

Craig Kaczorowski

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   Related Entries
  
social sciences >> Overview:  Anti-discrimination Statutes and Ordinances

Anti-discrimination statutes and ordinances have made a real difference in the lives of millions of glbtq individuals.

social sciences >> Overview:  Austria

A small German-speaking country in middle Europe, Austria is now home to a thriving glbtq subculture.

social sciences >> Overview:  Budapest

The capital and largest city of Hungary, Budapest is also the hub of Hungarian gay and lesbian life and the center of the country's glbtq political rights movement.

social sciences >> Overview:  Denmark

Denmark has a reputation for sexual liberation, tolerance, and progressive social policy in regards to glbtq issues.

arts >> Overview:  Film Festivals

The queer film festival circuit came into its own in the early 1990s and has since burgeoned into a major international phenomenon.

social sciences >> Overview:  Germany

While Germany, until recently, never officially accepted or welcomed members of the glbtq community, German culture and homosexuality have a long and significant history.

social sciences >> Overview:  Nazism and the Holocaust

As part of its agenda to preserve an "Aryan master race," Nazism persecuted homosexuals as "asocial parasites"; more than 100,000 men were arrested on homosexual charges during the Nazi years, with 5,000-15,000 gay men incarcerated in concentration camps.

social sciences >> Overview:  Russia

A cultural crossroads between Asia and Europe, Russia has a long, rich, and often violent heritage of varied influences and stark confrontations in regard to its patterns of same-sex love.

social sciences >> Overview:  Same-Sex Marriage

Lesbian and gay couples have been fighting for the freedom to marry since the dawn of the modern glbtq struggle for equality; despite some success abroad, progress toward same-sex marriage in the United States has been slow.

social sciences >> Overview:  Workplace Discrimination

Although work remains to be done, the expansion of protection from workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation stands as one of the significant accomplishments of the American lesbian and gay civil rights movement.

social sciences >> Hiller, Kurt

German writer and activist Kurt Hiller contributed to several pacifist and intellectual movements, including the fight to repeal Paragraph 175, which criminalized homosexuality.

arts >> Navratilova, Martina

One of the greatest tennis players in history, Martina Navratilova has become an outspoken supporter of gay and lesbian rights.

social sciences >> Redl, Alfred

The fascinating story of Colonel Alfred Redl, an Austro-Hungarian Army Chief of Counterintelligence who was blackmailed into spying for Russia in the years before World War I, has had a significant legacy for homosexuals.


    Bibliography
   

Alda, Kristina. "Nearly Weds: Country's First Same-sex Unions." The Prague Post (July 12, 2006): http://www.praguepost.com/articles/2006/07/12/nearly-weds.php

"Czech Gays Get Partner Rights." 365Gay.com (January 26, 2006): http://www.365gay.com/Newscon06/01/012606czech.htm

"Czech Parliament Overrides Veto, Passes Gay Partner Law." 365Gay.com (March 15, 2006): http://www.365gay.com/Newscon06/03/031506czech.htm

"Czech President Vetoes Gay Partner Bill." 365Gay.com (February 16, 2006). http://365gay.com/Newscon06/02/021606czech.htm

Hoy, Hilda. "New Era for Gay Rights Movement." The Prague Post (January 10, 2007): http://www.praguepost.com/articles/2007/01/10/new-era-for-gay-rights-movement.php

Merin, Yuval. Equality for Same-Sex Couples: The Legal Recognition of Gay Partnerships in Europe and the United States. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2002.

 

    Citation Information
         
    Author: Kaczorowski, Craig  
    Entry Title: Prague  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
 
    Publication Date: 2008  
    Date Last Updated October 30, 2008  
    Web Address www.glbtq.com/social-sciences/prague.html  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
 
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2008 glbtq, Inc.  
 

 

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