Czech Republic's lower house rejects marriage for same-sex couples but allows limited adoptions

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PRAGUE — The lower house of Parliament in the Czech Republic on Wednesday rejected same-sex marriage while affirming existing unions called partnerships for gay couples.

The new legislation, passed in a 123-36 vote, also doesn't allow same-sex couples to adopt children aside from those of their partner.

The legislation still needs approval from the Senate and President Petr Pavel, who took office last year and has supported same-sex marriage.

Most European Union member states allow same-sex marriage.

In the Czech Republic, Parliament approved in 2006 a law allowing same-sex partners to live in an officially registered partnership and have rights to inheritance and health care similar to those enjoyed by heterosexual married couples.

Such arrangements offer some of the protections of marriage, but many LGBTQ activists consider them a demeaning second-tier status.