Austrian court rules in favor of same-sex marriage

Sheri Evans
December 7, 2017

Austria joined the ranks of countries recognizing a universal right to marriage when its highest court ruled Tuesday that barring same-sex couples from wedding was discriminatory.

The "different sex" regulation will officially end on December 31, 2018, so gay couples in Austria will be able to marry at the start of 2019.

Austria's Constitutional Court announced this week that same-sex marriage will be legal starting in 2019.

Dismay at the ruling also came from Roman Catholic Church leaders in Austria, who denounced the court for "negating the uniqueness" of marriage "which is based on the differences between the sexes". "It is inspiring to see love prevail as the world faces a resurgence of anti-LGBTQ activism that reminds us of the work that must still be done to accelerate acceptance".

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Despite the country's soon-coming legalization of marriage equality, it still lags behind in other rights.

The ruling brings Austria into line with many other European countries including Britain, France, Germany and Spain.

The Netherlands became the first country to legalise same-sex marriage, in 2001. It acted at the request of two women who were rejected by two lower authorities.

Campaigners welcomed the move, with Homosexual Initiative Vienna (HOSI) describing it as an "opportunity for a renewed call for a fundamental reform of marriage". The country's courts have now ruled that definition cannot remain and have ordered that marriage be made available to all couples. The court explicitly stated that a ban on same-sex marriage conveys the message that lesbian, gay, or bisexual people are not equal to heterosexuals and concluded that this amounts to discrimination. A similar number of other European countries have some sort of same-sex unions or civil partnerships.

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