|Austrian Judge: Gay Marriage as of January 2019|
by Redaktie in History & Politics , 19 January 2018
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Austria has stricken the law that hinders the introduction of gay marriage. The Constitutional Court ruled that same-sex partners can get married from 2019 onwards.
At the request of two women, the court revisited a law from 2009, which stipulates that gay couples may only enter into registered partnerships. Same-sex marriage was not allowed in mostly Roman Catholic Austria.
However, the distinction between a registered partnership and a marriage cannot be maintained without the discrimination of such couples, the court stated. The words "two persons of different genders" will now be stricken from the law.
In Austria, a registered partnership is possible since 2010. Austrian same-sex partners can now get married following this decision, which goes into effect on January 1, 2019. The Austrian government can still decide to speed up the introduction.
With this result, the Austrians are now on the list of 15 other Western European countries that embrace gay marriage. Gay interest organisation Homosexuellen Initiative Wien (HOSI) welcomed the decision. “We are extremely pleased”, HOSI president Christian Högl stated.
Helmut Graupner, the barrister for the women who filed the case, is also pleased with the ruling. “Today is an historical day,” he wrote on Facebook. According to this legal advisor, Austria is the first country to strike a legal ban on same-sex marriage, while other countries have achieved marital recognition through politics.
After the legalization of same-sex marriage, the option of registered partnership will remain, both for gay and straight couples. By equating both commitments, Austria removes the suggestion that there is a difference between the two in the eyes of the law.
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