Czech ID cards will keep gender data after vote in parliament

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The Czech Chamber of Deputies, the country’s parliament, rejected a proposal of the Pirates that suggested erasing the gender column on the identity card afrter a vote on Wednesday.

At the same time, the parliament decided that Czech women will be allowed to state their names in official documents without the traditional suffix “-ová”. Until now, only women who justified the need to authorities for a version without a suffix could do so.

MP and Government Commissioner for Human Rights Helena Válková (ANO), in cooperation with the Pirates MP Ondřej Profant, suggested that women could decide for themselves whether they want to use to suffix “-ová”, which is automatically added to women’s surnames.

Currently, if a woman wants to leave out the suffix, she must be a foreigner, a Czech citizen who has or will have a permanent residence abroad, or a Czech citizen whose husband is a foreigner.

The amendment will now go to the Senate, and if it is approved, it will head to President Miloš Zeman.

The changes were approved by the deputies as part of the amendment to the Act on Identity Cards. Thanks to the new law, Czechs will receive ID cards with chips containing their fingerprints.

The amendment reacts to a regulation of the European Parliament. According to the directive, the ID card will have to include a machine-readable zone so that the documents meet the minimum security standards as set by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

During negotiations about the amendment, the Pirates failed to push through their proposal, which would erase the information on gender from the identity card. While the Pirate Party and several deputies from the ANO movement voted in favor of deleting this data, the remaining parliamentary groups were against it.

Furthermore, the proposal that filling in the data on gender would be voluntary did not pass either. In addition to the Pirates and several members of the ANO movement, this proposal was supported by some Social Democrats (ČSSD), including party chairman Jan Hamáček.

“We are impaired by prosperity, and we invent nonsense. But the public face-palms. The taxpayer has other worries, other concerns,” criticized Jaroslav Foldyna, the MP of SPD (Freedom and Direct Democracy), about the proposal.

“On identity cards, the data is necessary to identify the person and the data on gender is part of that,” said ANO MP Jaroslav Kytýr.

Pirates’ MP Mikuláš Ferjenčík objected by saying that the information about the gender was not always on the ID cards. He, therefore, advocated that MPs approve at least the voluntary completion of the data.

Title image: The Chamber of Deputies discusses the opposition’s request for a no-confidence vote in the government (Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic / Twitter)

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