Czech President promises to veto same-sex marriage bill

Jun 15, 2022

The President of the Czech Republic, Miloš Zeman, has said he would veto a bill that would introduce same-sex marriage in the country.

“I would like to announce that if I really get such a law on my desk, I will veto it,” Zeman, who is directly elected, said last week. He noted that the Czech state already allows civil unions for same-sex couples, “but a family is a union of a man and a woman. Full stop”, he said.

His comments came as the lower house of Parliament received a bill to introduce same-sex marriage.

The bill is supported by members of five of the political groupings in Parliament, including the Civic Democratic Party (ODS) and Mayors and Independents (STAN). It is opposed by the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL), who are part of a six-party governing coalition, and the opposition Freedom and Direct Democracy party (SPD). However, parties generally allow their MPs a free vote on matters around marriage.

A presidential veto sends legislation back to Parliament, but can be overruled by a majority vote of the members of the lower house.

The Czech Republic introduced civil partnerships for same-sex couples in 2006, giving them rights to inheritance and health care similar to married couples. The new bill would grant additional entitlements, including pension rights, rights and obligations concerning children and access to family care.

The President said that instead he would support a constitutional amendment that would set in stone the definition of marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

Same-sex marriage is legal in 30 countries worldwide. That is just 15% of the 195 recognised nations. Living in the UK it can often feel that defenders of real marriage are in a minority, but globally it is supporters of same-sex marriage who are unusual. The latest developments in the Czech Republic remind us that a large majority of countries continue to resist the novelty of gay marriage, which undermines real marriage as the gold standard for family life.

Marriage existed long before the state, and governments have no right to meddle with it. Ultimately, no one gains if it is redefined in ways that weaken it as the stabilising bedrock of a successful society.