While the law on marriage for all is going to the committees, MPs are trying to come up with a compromise that would make the proposal pass two more readings in the Chamber of Deputies. The rights of same-sex and heterosexual couples could be equalized, but instead of marriage, the union of gays and lesbians would be called, for example, partnership.
What you will also hear in today’s episode at 5:59
- Why might the passage of the marriage-for-all compromise proposal backfire?
- Along what lines are opinions split in the Chamber of Deputies?
- And why will it ultimately be crucial if the head of the ANO movement, Andrej Babiš, decides to support the proposal in the House of Representatives?
The Law on Marriage for All heads to the committees of the Chamber of Deputies on Tuesday. It has been on the agenda of the lower house of the Parliament for seven years, but only this year did the deputies manage to push it through the first reading. However, it does not have certain support in the coalition or across the political spectrum.
The debated change to the Civil Code does not just divide the House into coalition and opposition, it also divides MPs within the parties. According to the political reporter and co-author of the Left Down podcast Lucie Stuchlíková only the Pirates, who have only four MPs, will 100% agree on supporting the proposal. Most of the Mayors and independents are also in favor, and finally TOP 09, which was convinced by its boss and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Markéta Pekarová Adamová.
On the contrary, representatives of the KDU-ČSL and almost all civil democrats are traditionally against it. “I would say that part of the ODS voters, who perhaps voted for the first time because of the ethos of ‘anti-babies’ and ‘five coalitions, let’s unite’ and did not investigate it in depth, may be quite surprised by their attitude,” thinks Stuchlíková.
“Something is better than nothing”
Behind the scenes, same-sex marriage supporters are trying to negotiate a compromise. The new proposal, initiated by Markéta Pekarová Adamová, would guarantee a comparison of the rights of homosexual and heterosexual couples, although the unions would differ in name. Stuchlíková notes that the name “partnership” is most often spoken about.
“Actually, no one is happy about it, but the attitude of something is better than nothing has prevailed there, because we see that the political situation is so stuck that marriage for everyone with everything is most likely not possible,” explains the reporter.
Lawmakers hope the concession could convince other lawmakers, giving them a better chance of approval. In June, when the amendment to the Civil Code passed the first reading, the name marriage bothered, for example, MPs Marko Novák or Berenica Peštová from ANO. At the same time, they claimed that they do not consider equalization of rights as such to be problematic, and in theory a compromise could convince them.
However, Stuchlíková is “skeptical” in this regard. “I see it as a bit of a proxy argument, and I think the real issue is child adoption, so it’s not really going to get a lot of votes here,” says the reporter.
The compromise solution has one advantage. If it doesn’t go through in this form, at least it will be shown how many of those “equal rights calmly, but not the name” were talking shamelessly.
— Lucie Stuchlíková (@StuchlikovLucie) October 20, 2023
Moreover, this is not the only trickiness that accompanies the process. Together with the proposal on marriage for all, MPs also have to decide on an amendment to the constitutional law, according to which marriage would include only the marriage of a man and a woman. And they will also consider another version of the Marriage for All Act, which would only grant some additional rights to same-sex couples. This is proposed by the People’s Deputy Jiří Navrátil. According to Stuchlíková, none of these proposals has much chance of success.
The key role of the YES movement
According to the reporter, the YES movement, which has the largest parliamentary group in the House of Representatives, will probably decide what rights gays and lesbians will have in the end. However, neither MPs nor journalists know exactly which of his MPs support the change in the law and which do not. And Stuchlíková reminds that it is not possible to orient oneself even in the vote from the first reading, in which even some staunch opponents supported the proposal.
“Moreover, we have no idea how Andrej Babiš will react to it. If he tells the MPs that they can vote as they want, or if for some tactical pre-election reasons he says be for, be against,” the reporter explains.
For example, the upcoming elections to the European Parliament may influence his decision-making, and this is because the ANO movement has decided to attract conservative voters among its supporters in recent years.
In the 5:59 podcast, you will also learn why, for example, MPs from the ODS refuse to support the proposal, even though the majority of Czechs, according to surveys, would like equalization of the rights of heterosexual and homosexual couples, or whether the legislators can be convinced by the appeals sent to the Chamber of Deputies by representatives of theaters or the evangelical church . Listen in the player at the beginning of the article.
Editor a koeditor: Dominika Kubištová, Karolina Tremko
Sound design: David Kaiser
Sources of audio samples: The Chamber of Deputies, CRo Plus, CNN Prima News, Andrej Babiš’s tiktok profile
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