Research into the number of homosexual partnerships registered in the Czech Republic since a change in the law in July 2006 has found that not many have taken up their new rights.

353 male same-sex couples and 134 lesbian couples had registered by the end of 2007, reports Czech gay portal Colour Planet.

The Czech Republic was the first post-communist to recognise homosexual partnerships.

Their registered partnership legislation covers inheritance, maintenance and hospital rights for same-sex partners, but not adoption.

It was initially vetoed by then-president Vaclav Klaus in 2006.

He claimed it increased the state’s power to interfere with individual lives.

In March 2006 his veto was overturned in the Czech lower house.

An opinion poll last year found that nearly 70% of adults in the Czech Republic believe that registered partnership should be available to gays and lesbians.

Of the 487 partnerships already registered, 43 were formed with a foreign nationals, mostly from Slovakia, along with Azerbaijan, Taiwan, Israel, Mexico, Kazakhstan, Armenia, the Netherlands, the USA and Canada.

Eight of the registered partnerships have ceased to exist – five cases were lesbian couples, the poll showed.