Over 60 Czech Firms Ask PM Fiala To Support Same-Sex Marriage
The signatories to the letter said that marriage for all makes economic and moral sense. Credit: Freepik.
Prague, Sept 6 (CTK) – 66 companies in the Czech Republic have signed an open letter asking PM Petr Fiala (ODS) to support the law enabling “marriage for all”, presented today by Vodafone CEO Petr Dvorak and representatives of other firms and organisations.
They write that unequal conditions for LGBT+ citizens mean costs for employers and economic losses for society worth billions of euros.
Since July 2006, gay and lesbian couples have been able to enter into registered partnerships in the Czech Republic.
Discussion of legislation to equalise marriage rights began in 2016. The most recent proposal was submitted to the Chamber of Deputies during the current electoral term. At the same time, lawmakers are debating a counterproposal to define marriage in the constitution as a union between a man and a woman only.
President Petr Pavel recently said in a speech to the Senate that the rights of a part of society cannot be restricted because of their sexual orientation. He added that he did not consider the legalisation of same-sex marriage a revolution, but a fair legal framework.
In addition to telecommunications and computer companies such as Vodafone, cosmetics, food, transport and consultancy companies, some banks and breweries, as well as the Skoda car manufacturer, have signed the appeal in support of marriage for all. They said in their letter that they employed tens of thousands of people and shared the desire of LGBT+ people to live and work in the Czech Republic without prejudice.
The signatories point to the costs and economic losses of inequality. They refer to an analysis by the Open For Business research organisation, representing multinational consultancy firms. According to its findings, the Czech economy loses up to CZK 37.6 billion annually due to inequality, they write.
“From a business perspective, therefore, marriage for all couples is clearly beneficial not only for our companies, but also for the future of the Czech economy,” the appeal says.
The companies point out that as employers, they treat all their workers equally. In the letter, they say they have the expenses of double administration and “levelling out inequalities caused by the law” because LGBT+ employees do not have the same state benefits as others, such as parental leave and time off for registered partnerships.
Under the law, those who are registered as partners do not have joint property and are not entitled to a widow’s or widower’s pension after the death of their partner. Their offspring may not even get an orphan’s pension.
Although the law does not allow registered same-sex couples to adopt children, many “rainbow” families with children already exist in the Czech Republic. Nonetheless, legally, the children of two mothers or two fathers can only have one parent.
The companies signing the appeal said they consider equal rights a condition for the development of competitiveness and prosperity of the Czech Republic, and that marriage for all makes economic and moral sense. They call on PM Fiala to push for the early adoption of the current legislation. The business representatives offered to present their reasons to him at a meeting and are also ready to explain their position to other legislators.