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
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.