Czech court lifts ban only on individual gay adoptions

Prague (AFP) - The top Czech court on Tuesday lifted a ban on gays adopting children as individuals, but not as same-sex couples, prompting criticism from rights advocates.

The ruling published on the Internet said the constitutional court had "cancelled" the clause banning individual gays and lesbians from adopting children, as it "affects their dignity and their right to private life."

The case was heard following a complaint from a homosexual man who wanted to adopt a child.

While gay activists hailed the adoption rights for individuals, they also insisted the remaining ban on adoptions by same-sex couples was discriminatory.

"LGBT people in the Czech Republic are still second-class citizens," Jan Kozubik, an activist with the PROUD gay rights group, said in a statement.

Gays gained the right to civil partnerships in 2006 in the Czech Republic, a relatively liberal eastern EU country of 10.5 million, but they still do not have the right to marriage.

Following Tuesday's ruling, Czech human rights minister Jiri Dienstbier vowed to table an amendment to the civil partnerships law allowing adoptions by same-sex couples as well as the adoption of a partner's offspring.

Nearly 60 percent of Czechs agree that gays and lesbians should have the right to adopt their partners' children, while around 50 percent approve of gay marriage, according to a May 2015 poll by the Czech Academy of Sciences.