Openly gay neighbors still an issue for most Czechs

People in the Czech Republic are increasingly more accepting of gays and lesbians, but only two in five don’t see ‘coexistence’ as an issue

Raymond Johnston | 31.05.2011
Czech gays and lesbians still face an uphill battle for acceptance, especially in smaller towns, a CVVM poll revealed

A slight majority of Czechs said that coexistence with open gays and lesbians in their city or community created an issue, while almost two-fifths said that it did not. This attitude has held fairly steady since 2008, when the question was first asked in an annual survey by the Public Opinion Research Center (CVVM).

In total some 18 percent of Czech respondents said that gays or lesbians  coexisting with them in the same town or city would “certainly cause” issues. This was 2 percentage points higher than in 2010, but the same as 2009 and ’10. In addition, 36 percent in the most recent survey said that coexistence would “rather cause” issues. This was the same as in 2010 but down 1 percentage point from 2009 and 2 percentage points from 2008. In total for 2011, some 54 percent saw problems in coexisting with gays or lesbians.

The number of people who strongly feel that coexistence is not a cause for concern was only 9 percent— or half the level of those who strongly hold the opposite view. A further 29 percent said that it “rather doesn’t” cause concern. Altogether, 38 percent currently see little or no problem sharing the same community with homosexuals, which is down 2 percentage points from the previous year but up slightly from both 2008 and ’09.

Does having openly gay people create an issue in your town?

“Problems in coexistence with homosexuals … was particularly significant for those who are committed to the Roman Catholic Church (with 64 percent seeing problems and 29 percent not). In terms of age, problems in coexistence were more often seen by people over 60 years old, while people up to 30 years old increasingly believe that it should not cause problems,” CVVM analyst Jan Červenka said in the report. ‘The lowest level of support is for the right to adopt children.’

The size of the community was also a factor, with people in villages with populations of 800 to 2,000 seeing the most problems. In Prague, the largest city in the Czech Republic, gay and lesbian people living openly was a “problem-free issue.” University graduates and people with a high standard of living also tended not to see any problems with coexistence, as did people with gay or lesbian friends.

A majority of respondents— altogether 72 percent — think that gays and lesbians should be allowed to enter into registered partnerships. As for actual marriage, though, only 45 percent are in favor and 48 percent oppose it. “The lowest level of support is for the right to adopt children, with three-fifths (59 percent) of respondents holding a negative view. However the proportion of those who agree with adoption is not negligible; it is one-third (33 percent) of the population,” Červenka said.

Should gays and lesbians have the right to … ?

Support for letting gay and lesbian couples adopt rose 4 percentage points from the previous year’s survey, while support for marriage dropped 4 percentage points and for registered partnerships it stayed the same. “In the longer term, we can see an increase in support between 2005 and 2011 for gay rights in all the examined topics,” Červenka said.

The poll took place May 2–9, 2011, with 1,115 respondents above the age of 15 answering questions from a standardized questionnaire during a personal interview. The results were adjusted according to demographic models.

Separately, a recently released report from the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago in the US came to a different conclusion, according to news agency AFP. It found that the Czech Republic was among only four countries — along with Cyprus, Latvia and Russia — where approval of homosexuality decreased between 1988 and 2008. Approval increased in 27 countries.

  2005 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
Should gays and lesbians have the right to … ?
Marriage 38/51 37/57 38/55 47/46 49/45 45/48
Registered partnerships 61/30 69/24 75/19 73/23 72/23 72/23
Adopt children 19/70 22/67 23/65 27/63 29/60 33/59
  Source: CVVM; in favor/opposed in percent


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