Nearly 70% of adults in the Czech Republic believe that registered partnership should be available to gays and lesbians according to a CVVM poll conducted last month.

This figure is up from 62% two years ago.

The news comes almost a year after registered partnership, endowing inheritance, maintenance and hospital rights to same-sex partners, was made legal.

The bill had previously been vetoed by president Vaclav Klaus who claimed it increased the state’s power to interfere with individual lives.

His veto was overturned in the Czech lower house by a majority of 101 out of 177.

However only 43% of those surveyed supported gay marriage, while just 33% were in favour of gay or lesbian adoption which is not currently legal.

Former tennis champion, Martina Navaratalova, who was born in the Czech Republic but been resident in the US since 1981, commented from her adopted home:

“Even the Czech Republic now has same-sex unions. I have more rights there than in the U.S.”

The Czech Republic was the first post-communist to embed homosexual partnership.

18 countries now offer some kind of legal recognition for same-sex union and Canada, South Africa, Holland, Belgium and Spain all allow same-sex marriage.