Prague Pride kicks off with presidential debate

Prague Pride has kicked off with a presidential candidate debate on LGBT rights

On the evening of the August 7th, Prague Pride organised the first presidential candidate debate in the upcoming elections for president of the Czech Republic, which will be held in January 2013.

The significance of such a debate became clear last year, when Prague Pride was heavily criticised by the current Czech President Václav Klaus. He considered the word “deviants”, which was used by the deputy head of the Presidential Office to describe homosexuals, as value-neutral. Klaus said: “Prague Pride is not a demonstration of homosexuality but of homosexualism, about which I am very concerned, as I am about many other fashionable -isms. This is also the position I publicly took when I vetoed the law on registered partnerships in 2006.” The law was eventually adopted despite his veto.

The debate was held in the Václav Havel Library, where representatives of the civil society came to discuss with the three top running candidates: Jiri Dienstbier, Jan Fischer and Milos Zeman.
The topics of debate were human rights, civil society and the status of LGBT people in the Czech Republic. All three candidates stressed the importance of active support and protection of all human rights including those of the LGBT minority. They considered it unacceptable that the current president has been blocking the ratification of certain international conventions on human rights.
While the candidates agreed on the significance of the registered partnership for gays and lesbian, they disagreed on the subject of adoption by same-sex couples, where only the social democrat Dienstbier was in favour of granting them full adoption rights.

Czeslaw Walek, Chairman of Prague Pride, commented on the debate: "A president influences the perception of the whole society and its view on the civil society and human rights. Therefore it is important to know the opinions and ideas of the people who are running for president. I really appreciate that Prague Pride is the first to organise a debate of this type. We showed that even an association like ours can actively participate in the debate of what kind of president we want to have.”

The official Pride week starts on Monday the 13th of August and will last until Sunday the 19th, with a week packed with over 80 activities, the highlight being Saturday’s parade and concert.

@praguepride on Twitter
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