Czech president Miloš Zeman has said he plans to veto proposed legislation that would give same-sex couples the right to get married in the country.
The measure, which was drafted by lawmakers across the Czech political spectrum, was submitted to the parliament’s lower house on Tuesday (7 June), the Associated Press reported.
Lawmakers have yet to set a date to debate the proposed same-sex marriage legislation. Yet the country’s president has said he is strongly opposed to the measure and will strike it down should it even land on his desk.
“I’d like to announce that if I really receive such a law to sign I will veto it,” Zeman said.
Miloš Zeman has served as the president of the Czech Republic since 2013. The president is considered a largely ceremonial role as the elected leader has limited executive powers, but he does have a considerable role in political affairs.
Zeman said that the Czech Republic passed a law in 2006 allowing same-sex couples to enter into registered partnerships, but he believed “family is a union between a man and a woman”, “full stop”.
The registered partnership gives queer couples in the Czech Republic some rights similar to those of heterosexual married couples, but it stops short of placing same-sex couples on fully equal footing with their heterosexual counterparts.
Same-sex marriage remains illegal in the country because marriage is defined as a union between a man and a woman under the Czech Republic’s civil code.
Parliament started debating similar same-sex marriage legislation back in 2018, but the legislation stalled as lawmakers didn’t take a vote before last year’s general election. The measure had to then be re-submitted for debate.
Lawmakers in the Czech parliament’s lower house can override Zeman’s veto if they can reach a majority vote.
Miloš Zeman has often espoused anti-LGBTQ+ views in the past. Last June, Zeman said he finds trans people “disgusting” while discussing Hungary’s so-called LGBTQ+ ‘propaganda’ law, which bans any depiction or discussion of queer people in schools, the media and advertising.
Zema said he thought people who undergo gender-affirming treatments are “basically committing a crime of self-harm”.
“Every surgery is a risk, and these transgender people to me are disgusting,” he added.
Zeman also defended Hungarian premier Viktor Orbán, who has been roundly condemned for rolling back LGBTQ+ rights in the country.
The Czech president said Orbán is “not against homosexuals” but is just “against the manipulation” of parents and children in “sex education”.
“I see no reason to disagree with him because I am completely annoyed by the suffragettes, the Me Too movement and Prague Pride,” Zeman said.