The Czech government is backing a marriage equality bill that could break barriers for LGBTQ rights in former communist nations, reports Reuters.
On Friday, Prime Minister Andrej Babis announced that his government was backing the bill in question, which would revise the Czech Republic’s current civil partnership laws to encompass marriage equality. The bill’s passage into law would make the country the first formerly communist nation in Europe to recognize equal marriage.
A group of 46 lawmakers drafted the proposed bill—and 37 other legislators wrote up an opposing bill, arguing that marriage is between a man and a woman, and that definition should be solidified in an amendment to the Czech constitution. The bill permitting equal marriage needs a simple majority to pass, while the bill proposing a change to the constitution would need a 120-vote approval the Czech Republic’s 200-seat house. However, it’s unclear whether the government will actually get to vote on the rival bills, since the country has struggled to flesh out its administration after its elections last October.
While the Czech Republic began officially recognizing civil partnerships for same-sex couples in 2006, trans people within its borders don’t fare so well. Currently, Czech law requires that transgender people must undergo hormone replacement therapy or gender-affirming surgeries before they can receive birth certificates, passports, or other government documents that accurately reflect their gender identity.
Meanwhile, a poll from the Prague Daily Monitor, published this April, indicates that about 75% of Czechs support the push for marriage equality.