Austria has just voted to legalise gay marriage!
Following in the footsteps of other countries such as Germany, Chile and Australia who made the move earlier this year, Austria’s Constitutional Court passed a ruling today that allows same-sex couples to get married.
From the start of 2019 same-sex marriage will be legal in the country with all previous laws being ruled discriminatory.
Since 2010 same-sex couples have been able to enter into legal civil partnerships but were never able to marry.
However, following a complaint from two women who were refused permission to marry in Vienna, Austria’s Constitutional Court examined the law and revised it.
If the government decides to lift the previous ruling even earlier than the end of 2018, same-sex couples may be able to get married before 2019.
In a statement, Austria’s Constitutional Court said:
The Court justified this step with the prohibition of discrimination of the principle of equality.
The case was based on the complaint of two women living in registered partnership who applied for admission to establish a marriage.
This motion was rejected by the Municipal Council of Vienna and subsequently by the Vienna Administrative Court.
The legislature at that time pursued the goal of reducing the discrimination of same-sex couples, but remained against the background of a ‘certain traditional understanding’ in two different legal institutions, just marriage and registered partnership.
Since then, the registered partnership has become ever closer to marriage, so that today the two legal institutions are largely in line with each other both in terms of their design and the legal consequences, despite ‘occasional differences’.
In particular, younger legal development makes common parenting possible for same-sex couples: same-sex couples are allowed to adopt children (jointly) and make equal use of the permitted forms of medically assisted reproduction.
However, the distinction between marriage and registered partnership can not be maintained today without discriminating against same-sex couples.
The Court also added that keeping civil partnerships and marriage as two separate institutions suggests that ‘people with same-sex sexual orientation are not equal to people with heterosexual orientation’.
While same-sex couples wait until 2019 to marry, they are able to enter into a legal partnership.
This year has been a fantastic one for gay rights as same-sex marriage has been legalised in many countries across the world.
In June following stiff opposition that has existed for years, Germany voted to allow same-sex couples to marry.
At a heated debate at the Bundestag, parliament voted to enforce the legalisation of gay marriage by 399 votes to 226.
Chancellor Angela Merkel was seen opposing the move voting with a red card indicating a vote to block the movement.
Chile also legalised gay marriage earlier this year introducing a bill that also allowed same-sex couples to adopt children.
Only a week after the government ended the country’s absolute ban on abortions, President Michelle Bachelet signed the proposal which was then sent to lawmakers.
Australia also voted to legalise same-sex marriage this year in a historic poll.
Emily Murray is a journalist at UNILAD. She graduated from the University of Leeds with a BA in English Literature and History before studying for a Masters in Journalism at the University of Salford. Emily has previously worked for the BBC, ITV and Trinity Mirror. When Emily isn’t writing about topics including mental health and entertainment, you can find her at the cinema which is her second home.