Even though the ‘Different Families, Same Rights’ campaign of the PROUD platform did not achieve its goal this year, there are many constructive elements which could be replicated in other civic initiatives dealing with similar topics. The campaign was launched in 2013 with the aim to legalise the adoption of a biological child by the social parent, and to legalise individual or same-sex adoption in registered partnerships. Its focus was not reduced only to lobbying and changing discriminatory legislation, but the campaign focused on making visible Czech homoparental families and their concerns to the wider public and to educate the latter.
One of the strengths of the campaign was that they approached and gained the attention of influential political figures. PROUD prepared the proposal for same-sex adoption and received support from 30 deputies across all political parties, which is very rare. The activists launched a petition to back up the proposal and encouraged citizens to actively approach deputies with their concerns. When Parliament did not concede to bring forth the proposal, PROUD negotiated it with the government and gained support from 12 ministers, which was an historical success. Their lobbying strategy and negotiation methods proved to be crucial in gaining support from politicians from different or even opposing blocks.
Additionally, politicians, economists, artists and other public figures were asked to support the cause by taking pictures of themselves wearing a T-shirt stating that they encourage the proposal of same-sex adoption. A gallery of more than 100 public figures emerged, including Minister of Justice Robert Pelikán, Minister of Finance Andrej Babiš, Minister of Labour and Social Affairs Michaela Marksová-Tominová, former Human Rights Minister Jiří Dienstbier and many others.
Another attempt to engage the public in a participative way and to counter prejudice was to ask same-sex couples to post pictures with their children from Christmas celebrations on social network, showing there are no differences in the everyday life of same-sex and heterosexual couples. Many couples did so and once more demonstrated their ‘normality’.
The biggest achievement of the campaign was the improvement of the perception of same-sex couples and adoption in the whole of society. PROUD conducted many workshops with youngsters and seniors as well as dozens of public debates and many negotiations with companies to be more open to all employees regardless of their sexual orientation. They created the bePROUD prize for the best employer of the year. Their work with the media was based on personal contact and careful work with journalists. As a result, the image of same-sex couples and families improved and so did public support, which increased from 58% in favour of same-sex adoption in 2014 to 62% in 2016. Although the topic itself might seem marginal — ‘only’ 2,000 children are currently being raised by same-sex couples — the campaign succeeded in sensibilising a large part of society, to be supported and accepted by heterosexual couples. http://proud.cz/