Austrian court legalises same-sex marriage, declaring all other laws discriminatory

Austrian court legalises same-sex marriage, declaring all other laws discriminatory

The European country has become the latest to gain marriage equality after its Supreme Court lifted legal restraints that prevented same-sex couples from tying the knot.

The current rules on marriage will remain in place until at least the end of 2018, unless Austria's parliament decides to legislate and change their marriage rules in the interim.

They continued: 'Because the separation into two legal institutions expresses that people with same-sex sexual orientation are not the same people with different sexual orientation'.

The court ruled that the 2009 law violated the constitution by discriminating against same-sex couples. "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".

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

In a statement, the court said the distinction between the different kinds of unions could not be upheld because it was discriminatory against same-sex relationships, as it forced people to disclose their sexual orientation in situations where that was not relevant.

The two parties negotiating to form a new government after Austria's October election, the conservative Austrian People's Party and the right-wing Freedom Party, have so far opposed gay marriage.

"We are very happy", said The Homosexual Initiative Vienna (HOSI) chairman Christian Hoegl. In recent years in Austria, same-sex couples in civil partnerships have been allowed to adopt children. However, in the state's laws on marriage it had been explicitly stated that only two people of the opposite sex could marry. The first country to legalise same-sex marriage was the Netherlands in 2001.