Czech courts still refuse to recognize adoption of children abroad by same-sex couples

Revellers march during a Gay Pride Parade in downtown Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2011. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
By Karolina Klaskova
2 Min Read

The upper house of the Czech Parliament refused to approve the amendment, which would have seen Czech courts officially recognize the adoption of children abroad by same-sex couples. According to critics, amending private international law would interfere with the Czech Civil Code. Therefore, Senator Václav Láska, the proposal’s author, pledged to submit a comprehensive amendment to Czech law by the spring of next year.

Láska wanted the amendment to achieve recognition of the factual and legal relationship of adopted children of same-sex couples, which depends on the decision of a foreign court. According to the senator, the change could also help unmarried heterosexual couples adopt a child abroad. The matter would regard tens of Czech couples a year.

The current form of the law contradicts the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms, as Láska stated.

The senator cited Czech snowboarder Šárka Pančochová as an example, who adopted the daughter of her American wife in the United States, but cannot return to the Czech Republic with them, as she would lose her rights to a child.

The critics conclude that the amendment would allow for circumventing the country’s civil code, according to which spouses or half of the married couple can become adopters.

Czech courts can now recognize foreign court decisions to adopt a foreign national child only if it is not contrary to public policy and not hindered by the exclusive jurisdiction of the Czech courts.

Hundreds to thousands of children live in the Czech Republic with two mothers or two fathers. However, only one of the partners is recognized by the state as a parent.

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