Debate on a bill that seeks to extend marriage rights to gay and lesbian couples has been delayed in the lower house of the Czech Parliament.

The debate was scheduled to take place on October 31. Several outlets reported that lawmakers ran out of time.

Currently, sixteen European nations legally recognize and perform same-sex marriage, most recently Austria, where a recently enacted law begins on January 1. An additional eleven European countries, including the Czech Republic, recognize gay couples with some form of civil union.

The Czech Republic would become the first post-Communist member of the European Union with marriage equality, if the proposed marriage bill is approved.

Put forward in June by a group of 46 deputies, the bill has the support of Prime Minister Andrej Babis' coalition center-left government.

The Czech Republic has recognized gay couples with civil unions since 2006. But the union does not include all the rights and responsibilities of marriage, including adoption.

A group of 37 lawmakers have presented an opposing bill that would define marriage as the union of one man and one woman in the constitution.