Austria Will Legalize Same-Sex Marriage Beginning In 2019

Austria makes same-sex marriage legal

Last month, Australia became the 26th nation to follow suit after the country voted overwhelming in favour of legalising same-sex marriage.

A statement released on Tuesday (Euro time) confirmed that "The Constitutional Court nullified with a decision on December 4, 2017 the legal regulation that until now prevented such couples from marrying".

Same-sex couples will be soon be able to marry in Austria.

The Associated Press reports that in doing so, Austria joins 15 different Western European countries where same-sex marriage is allowed.

The reason for considering this case was the complaint of two women who refused marriage.

The Constitutional Court said: 'The distinction between marriage and registered partnership cannot be maintained today without discriminating against same-sex couples'.

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The limitations in question were that the previous definition of marriage allowed it only to be between "different sex" partners.

The move has divided the country's incoming coalition government - the conservative People's Party (OVP) said they would accept the decision, but the far-right Freedom Party (FPO) criticised the court.

Although LGBTQ people in Austria have been able to enter into civil partnerships, the country's definition of marriage had been for "different sex" partners. The court explicitly stated that a ban on same-sex marriage conveys the message that lesbian, gay, or bisexual people are not equal to heterosexuals and concluded that this amounts to discrimination.

Constitutional courts in South Africa, Colombia, and Taiwan have also ruled that a ban on same-sex marriage in unconstitutional.

But many other European countries in the formerly Communist east - including Bulgaria, Poland, Romania and Slovakia - still deny homosexuals the right to enter into any legally recognized union.

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