Austrian Supreme Court Rules to Legally Allow Same-Sex Marriage

Same-sex couples in Austria will be allowed to marry legally from 2019 after a ruling by the country’s highest court.

The country’s supreme court made the ruling, stating that the current law violated a principle of non-discrimination.

It also allows heterosexual couples to enter a civil partnership.

“The Constitutional Court nullified with a decision on December 4, 2017 the legal regulation that until now prevented such couples from marrying,” a statement released on Tuesday said.

It brings Austria in line with other European nations including Germany, France, Britain and Spain.

However, current laws will remain in place until December 31, 2018 unless Austria’s parliament changes the law before then.

It came after a 2009 law allowed same-sex couples to enter a civil partnership but did not allow them to marry.

A female couple requested the examination of the law who were prevented from marrying by two lower authorities.

The court said the distinction between different kinds of unions could not be upheld because it was discriminatory against same-sex relationships.

Lawyer representing the couple Helmut Graupner applauded the Austrian court for recognising equality for same-sex couples as a “fundamental human right”.

“All the other European states with marriage equality introduced it (just) the political way,” he said on Facebook.

The move has divided the country’s incoming coalition government, with the conservative People’s Party saying they would accept the decision, but the far-right Freedom Party criticised the court.

Same-sex marriage is now legal in 25 countries around the world

The Netherlands became the first country to legalise same-sex marriage in 2001.

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