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Czech Parliament Overrides Veto, Passes Gay Partner Law 
by Malcolm Thornberry, European Bureau Chief

March 15, 2006 - 3:00 pm ET

(Prague) The Czech Parliament on Wednesday overrode a presidential veto and passed a law that recognizes same-sex domestic partnerships.

Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek got 101 of the 177 votes that were cast in the 200 seat parliament - the exact number needed to override President Vaclav Klaus' veto of the bill.

The law will allow couples who register their partnership with authorities to have inheritance and health care rights similar to those granted now to heterosexual married couples. The law, however, does not allow marriage or adoption of children by same-sex partners.

The legislation passed the lower house in December and the upper house in January. Klaus vetoed the legislation last month.

Following Klaus' veto of the measure gays and lesbians marched through the streets of Prague to the presidential palace to protest.

Paroubek called the veto one of Klaus' biggest errors as President.

The issue of same-sex partner rights is expected to play a major part in the June election setting up a battle between Paroubek's Social Democrats and Klaus' Civic Democrats.

Recent public opinion polls show most Czechs support same-sex couples having the option of registering their partnerships.

© 2006

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