The lower chamber
of the Czech parliament voted Friday to discuss a draft
law that would grant some legal rights to same-sex partners,
an official said. Eighty-two of the 107 deputies
present voted to allow the draft to go to a second
reading; nine were against it, and 16 abstained, said Anna
Stepkova, a spokeswoman for the legislature.
If enacted, the legislation would allow couples
who register their union with authorities to enjoy
rights in areas such as inheritance and health care
that are similar to those granted now to heterosexual
married couples. The draft, which will be now
discussed in the chamber's committees, does not allow
marriage or adoption of children by same-sex partners.
Lawmakers have turned down similar proposals several times
in the past. It was rejected by a majority of just one
vote in the last vote on the issue February 11.
It was not immediately clear when the final vote
on the proposal could be expected. A number of other
European countries already have recognized same-sex