Thursday, 07 December 2017 02:08

Austria's Constitutional Court ruled in favor of marriage equality

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Austrian Constitutional Court

 

No, Austria has not legalized equal marriage. The Austrian Constitutional Court has ruled in favor of same-sex marriages. It follows a complaint filed by a couple of women. But the new government is opposed to LGBT unions.

Two women had filed a complaint with the country's Constitutional Court to get the right to marry. Since 2010, Austria allows LGBT couples to enter into civil partnerships but refuses to legalize equal marriage.

On Tuesday, the Austrian Constitutional Court delivered its verdict. It stated that current laws are discriminatory.

"The distinction between marriage and civil partnership can no longer be maintained today without discriminating against same-sex couples," the court said, adding that a distinction between the two suggests that "people with a same-sex sexual orientation are not equal to people with a heterosexual orientation."

The court's decision was also based on the fact that civil partnerships and marriages are increasingly similar since same-sex couples are allowed to adopt children.

Austria's Constitutional Court requested that the words "two people of different sex" be removed from the Marriage Act by the end of 2018. This would allow same-sex couples to marry from 2019.

Will Austria legalize marriage equality? In fact, I'm afraid the court's decision is coming too late. The outgoing government, the center-left Social Democratic Party, favored marriage equality.

Currently the new government is composed of two parties: the conservative Austrian People's Party and the right-wing Freedom Party. Both are opposed to the equal marriage and didn't wish to give their opinion on the court's decision.

Nothing prevents them from passing a marriage equality ban by 2019.

So no, Austria has not legalized equal marriage yet. The Austrian constitutional court just took the first step.

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