Austrian court rules in favor of same-sex marriage

Austrian court rules in favor of same-sex marriage

Same-sex couples in Austria will be able to legally marry from 2019 after a ruling by the country's top court.

In a statement, the court said the distinction between the different kinds of unions could not be upheld because it was discriminatory against same-sex relationships, as it forced people to disclose their sexual orientation in situations where that was not relevant. Same-sex couples must first end their registered partnerships before they are able to get married.

The ruling noted that same-sex couples have increasingly been granted rights equal to those of married, heterosexual couples since civil partnerships were permitted in 2010.

Austria is a central European country that borders Germany, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Italy, Slovenia, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

The two were already in a civil partnership, but they were refused a formal marriage in Vienna by the city's authorities.

The ruling paves the way for the removal of the phrase "different sex" from Austria's marriage law on December 31, 2018.

Same-sex couples in Austria have been able to enter only into "registered partnerships" since 2010, with almost the same rights of married couples.

Austria is now the 16th European country to legalise same-sex unions.

While LGBTQI couples will have to wait for that rule expiration date to pass, the court also ruled that the individual couple that challenged the issue in court - along with four other couples who filed complaints - would be allowed to marry immediately. "All the other European states with marriage equality introduced it (just) the political way", he said in a Facebook post. The conservative People's Party stated [Reuters report] it will accept the ruling while the far-right Freedom Party criticized the ruling.

Both parties voted against same-sex marriage when it came before parliament earlier this year.

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