- Hans Weber
- December 6, 2023
66 Czech Companies Rally for “Marriage for All” Legislation, Citing Economic and Moral Imperatives
In a powerful show of support for equality and inclusivity, 66 prominent companies in the Czech Republic have united to sign an open letter urging Prime Minister Petr Fiala to back legislation enabling “marriage for all.” The call for change was presented by Vodafone CEO Petr Dvorak and representatives from various organizations, emphasizing the economic benefits and the fundamental need for equal rights for the LGBT+ community.
The companies argue that existing disparities in the treatment of LGBT+ citizens result in substantial costs for employers and economic losses amounting to billions of euros for society. They stress their commitment to providing equal treatment for all employees and fostering a fair and inclusive work environment.
Since July 2006, the Czech Republic has recognized registered partnerships for gay and lesbian couples. However, the campaign for marriage equality began in 2016, with the most recent proposal submitted to the Chamber of Deputies during the current electoral term. Simultaneously, lawmakers are considering a counterproposal to amend the constitution, defining marriage as a union exclusively between a man and a woman.
President Petr Pavel recently expressed his support for equal rights in a speech to the Senate, asserting that the rights of a section of society should not be restricted based on their sexual orientation. He characterized the legalization of same-sex marriage as a fair legal framework rather than a revolution.
The signatories of the open letter represent a diverse range of industries, including telecommunications, cosmetics, food, transport, consultancy, banking, brewing, and automotive manufacturing (such as Skoda). They argue that marriage equality is not only a moral imperative but also a matter of economic significance. They point to research conducted by the Open For Business organization, representing multinational consultancy firms, which estimates that the Czech economy loses up to CZK 37.6 billion annually due to inequality.
From a business perspective, the companies contend that “marriage for all” is clearly beneficial, not only for their firms but also for the long-term prosperity of the Czech Republic. They stress that equal rights are vital for competitiveness and the nation’s development.
The open letter further highlights the additional costs employers incur due to the current legal framework, including administrative burdens and the need to address inequalities faced by LGBT+ employees who do not enjoy the same state benefits as others, such as parental leave and time off for registered partnerships.
Under current legislation, registered same-sex couples lack joint property rights and do not have access to widower’s or widow’s pensions after the death of their partner. Their children may also be denied orphan’s pensions. Although adoption is not permitted for registered same-sex couples, there are already many “rainbow” families in the Czech Republic, but legally, children with two mothers or two fathers can only have one legal parent.
The companies backing this initiative view equal rights as integral to the competitiveness and prosperity of the Czech Republic. They call on Prime Minister Fiala to champion the prompt adoption of this legislation. The business representatives are ready to present their reasons to the Prime Minister and engage with other legislators to advance the cause of marriage equality in the Czech Republic.
Article by Prague Forum