PRAGUE – Czech President Milos Zeman said Tuesday that he is ready to veto, if it's approved by parliament, proposed legislation that would give same-sex couples in the country the right to hold civil weddings.
The bill drafted by lawmakers from across the political spectrum was submitted to the Czech Parliament's lower house Tuesday, but no date has been set for the beginning of its debate.
It is strongly opposed by the Christian Democrats, a member of the governing five-party coalition, and by the opposition Freedom and Direct Democracy, an anti-migrant and anti-Muslim populist party.
“I'd like to announce that if I really receive such a law to sign I will veto it,” Zeman said Tuesday after meeting his Hungarian counterpart Katalin Novak.
Zeman noted that the Czech state already enables civil unions for same-sex couples, “But a family is a union between a man and a woman. Full stop.”
The Czech president is known for derogatory comments about the LGBTQ community.
A majority of all lawmakers in the lower house can override the presidential veto. The Czech presidency is a largely ceremonial post.
Parliament already started to debate similar legislation in 2018 but didn't take a vote on it before last year's general election and it had to be submitted again.
Same-sex marriage is now legal in some 30 countries worldwide, including most of Western Europe.
In the Czech Republic, Parliament approved in 2006 a law allowing same-sex partners to live in an officially registered partnership and have rights to inheritance and health care similar to those enjoyed by heterosexual married couples.
Such arrangements offer some of the protections of marriage, but many LGBTQ activists consider them a demeaning second-tier status.