Catholic-Majority Austria to Legalize Gay Marriage, Deems Traditional Marriage Law 'Discriminatory'

Same-sex couples will be allowed to get married by 2019
PAU BARRENA  AFP  Getty Images

Same-sex couples will be allowed to get married by 2019 Credit PAU BARRENA AFP Getty Images

Austria's Constitutional Court nullified a previous ruling that prevented same-sex couples from getting married, meaning that by January 1st, 2019 at the absolute latest, LGBTQI couples will be allowed to legally marry in the traditionally conservative country.

The restrictions on same-sex marriage are now set to be lifted on the final day of 2018, unless the government decides to do it earlier, and the new law will go into effect on January 1, 2019.

It added that keeping the two institutions separate suggests that "people with same-sex sexual orientation are not equal to people with heterosexual orientation".

It noted in its ruling that marriage and civil partnerships have become increasingly similar in a legal sense in recent years, with same-sex couples allowed to adopt children. "It is inspiring to see love prevail as the world faces a resurgence of anti-LGBTQ activism that reminds us of the work that must still be done to accelerate acceptance". The Netherlands was the first country to approve marriage equality; same-sex couples have been marrying there since 2001.

The move brings Austria into line with many other European nations including Germany, France, Britain and Spain.

2019 in Austria, same-sex couples can marry. They said it disrespected the tradition of marriage as a partnership between a man and a woman that is intended for procreation. "We are very happy", said HOSI chairman Christian Hoegl.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has ruled that the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) requires member states to provide legal recognition, but does not require marriage to be opened to same-sex couples.

Twenty-four countries already have marriage equality. The repeal will allow same-sex couples to get married and allow mixed-sex couples to enter registered partnerships.

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