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05th Dec 2017

Austria has officially legalised same-sex marriage

Michael Lanigan

Austria is now the 26th country to legalise same-sex marriage.

The ruling was passed on Tuesday morning (5th December) at Austria’s Constitutional Court with same-sex couples being allowed to marry starting in 2019.

This came after a complaint was made by two women to the Constitutional Court. The two were already in a civil partnership, but they were refused a formal marriage in Vienna by the city’s authorities.

In a statement, the Constitutional Court said that any “distinction between marriage and civil partnership can no longer be maintained today without discriminating against same-sex couples”.

Since 2010, same-sex couples have been allowed to enter into a civil partnership. However, in the state’s laws on marriage it had been explicitly stated that only two people of the opposite sex could marry. That is set to be changed at the end of 2018.

It also marks a momentous occasion after the recent national elections saw new Prime Minister Sebastian Kurz and his conservative People’s Party enter into coalition talks with the far-right Freedom Part, both groups being opposed to a change in the nation’s marriage laws.

Austria is now the 26th country to recognise same-sex marriage and the third in 2017 after Malta and Germany voted in favour of the law in their parliaments. Australia is also set to change the wording of its laws once the Marriage Amendment Bill is approved by the House of Representatives, after having been passed through the senate on November 29th, while Finland’s first ceremonies were able to begin back in March.

Ireland became the first country to legalise same-sex marriage through a popular referendum in May 2015. Since then, other countries to alter their laws include the US, Colombia and Greenland, while Mexico permits the process in certain areas. It is likely that the next country to change their laws will be Taiwan.

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