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New Proposal To Allow Minorities to Marry in Their Native Languages Again

A new proposal by the Christian Democrats would allow minorities to get married in their native language again, after this possibility was removed in 2015. The amendment to the law would come with two conditions, including a minority population threshold that would exclude some of the largest minorities. Photo credit: Freepik / For illustrative purposes.

Czech Rep., Jul 10 (BD) – Since 2015, all civil weddings in the Czech Republic have to be conducted in Czech. However, the Christian Democrats (KDU-ČSL) hope to change that. Yesterday, deputies started discussing a proposed amendment to the law that would allow minorities to marry in their own languages.

Although minorities were previously allowed to have civil weddings conducted in their native languages, a legal analysis issued in 2015 by the Ministry of Interior deemed the practice unlawful, as the current law states that civil weddings can only be conducted in Czech. Since then, civil weddings have been conducted according to the law.

To allow minorities to get married in their native languages again, MP Pavla Golasowská (KDU-ČSL), has proposed an amendment to the law. Golasowská is herself from the Polish border region, where a large group of the population belongs to the Polish minority.

The proposed amendment sets two conditions to allow marriages to go ahead in other languages: the linguistic minority in question must make up 10% of the population in the municipality where the marriage is being conducted, and both the registrar and wedding officer must be fluent in the target language.

Currently, many minority citizens circumvent the law by getting married in a church, where they can speak their native languages, or get married twice, once in Czech and once in their homeland.

The municipality population threshold will still exclude some of the biggest minorities in the country from getting married in their native language. According to Anna Rákóczi, the Hungarian Representative on the Government Council for National Minorities, the Hungarian minority does not meet the threshold anywhere, despite being the fifth biggest minority. The same is true for Germans, who are the third largest minority, according to Martin Dzingel, the German Representative on the Government Council, but do not make up a tenth of any municipality.

The new amendment would allow for some Polish, Vietnamese, Roma and Slovak citizens to marry in their own languages, though the Slovak Representative on the Government Council, Jaroslav Miňo, says there is very little interest from Slovaks in the amendment. The Representative for Polish citizens points out that many Polish Czechs prefer to have their weddings in a church either way, and the Head of the Vienamese-Czech Community explains that many Vietnamese have civil marriages in Czech in the Czech Republic, and then have a wedding ceremony with their relatives in Vietnam.

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