Austria Constitutional Court strikes down law banning same-sex marriage

Austria Constitutional Court strikes down law banning same-sex marriage

Austria Constitutional Court strikes down law banning same-sex marriage

Austria's Constitutional Court has ruled that same-sex couples will be allowed to marry by the beginning of 2019, bringing the country in line with more than a dozen other western European nations.

The Austrian Supreme Court yesterday lifted legal restraints that prevented same-sex couples from marrying.

The case was brought by two women who have a registered partnership but wanted to get married.

In April 2001, the Netherlands became the first country in the world to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry in a civil ceremony.

That left sexual orientation as the main difference between those allowed to marry and those who could enter only into a legal partnership, which the court found discriminatory.

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It also marks a momentous occasion after the recent national elections saw new Prime Minister Sebastian Kurz and his conservative People's Party enter into coalition talks with the far-right Freedom Part, both groups being opposed to a change in the nation's marriage laws.

"Now there is equal treatment for something that's not equal", said Herbert Kickl, FPO General Secretary, in a statement.

The court decision comes days after French President Emmanuel Macron unveiled a plan to curb violence against women and weeks after Scotland apologised to gay men for historical convictions.

"We are very happy", said The Homosexual Initiative Vienna (HOSI) chairman Christian Hoegl. Australia aims to pass a law to this effect early next month after 62 percent of voters favored marriage equality in a national survey.

Constitutional courts in South Africa, Colombia, and Taiwan have also ruled that a ban on same-sex marriage in unconstitutional. A similar number of other European countries have some sort of same-sex unions or civil partnerships.

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