Austria Is Now 16th European Country to Grant Marriage Equality

A gay-themed traffic light

Austria's highest court ruled Tuesday to fully legalize marriage equality by 2019 after declaring the law restricting LGBTQ partnership to civil unions discriminatory.

The legislature is able to amend the marriage laws to allow same-sex couples to marry earlier than December 31, 2018.

"People living in same-sex partnerships have to disclose their sexual orientation even in situations in which it is not, and must not be, relevant and ... are highly likely to be discriminated against", the court continued, explaining part of the motivation for repealing gay marriage restrictions. "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".

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

The move will bring the country in line with 15 other European countries.

The court gave the government and parliament until January 1, 2019, to agree on legislation allowing same-sex couples to enter civil marriage.

Helmut Graupner, a lawyer for the two women who brought the case, wrote in a Facebook post that "today is a truly historic day". The conservative People's Party stated [Reuters report] it will accept the ruling while the far-right Freedom Party criticized the ruling. "We are very happy", said HOSI chairman Christian Hoegl.

Austria is the sixteenth European country to legalize gay marriage, according to TheNYT.

That left sexual orientation as the main difference between those allowed to marry and those who could enter only into a legal partnership, which the court found discriminatory. He applauded the Austrian court for recognising equality for same-sex couples as a "fundamental human right". Austria marriage equality will soon be legal.

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