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Austrian Court rules to legalize marriage equality starting in 2019

07 December, 2017, 02:34 | Author: Lamar Ellis
  • Austria makes same-sex marriage legal

Gay marriage has already been legalized in 15 countries in western Europe, including in Germany, which until this year was the biggest holdout.

The Austrian Constitutional Court's ruling on December 4, 2017, that a ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional is a powerful victory for equal marriage rights, Human Rights Watch said today.

Austria's decision brings Europe one step closer to marriage equality acceptance, joining other nations like Spain, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom, that have already passed similar legislations.

This means that same-sex couples will have to wait until 2019 before they're able to get married.

"Today is a truly historic day", said Helmut Graupner, a lawyer who represented the two women who brought the case before the court.

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Its constitutional court said the current marriage law violated non-discrimination rules. However, in the state's laws on marriage it had been explicitly stated that only two people of the opposite sex could marry.

The distinction between a civil partnership and marriage can no longer be upheld without discriminating against same-sex couples, the court said. Under previous law, gay couples could join together in civil unions and were afforded all the legal rights of married heterosexual couples, but could not officially marry.

In May 2015, Ireland became the first country to legalise gay marriage by popular vote, with some 62% of the electorate voting in favour of legalisation.

"Because the separation into two legal institutions expresses that people with same-sex sexual orientation are not the same people with different sexual orientation". Men who have sex with men are also not allowed to donate blood. A similar number of other European countries have some sort of same-sex unions or civil partnerships.

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