Austria's Supreme Court Legalized Gay Marriage

Supporters of the'Yes vote for marriage equality celebrate after it was announced the majority of Australians support same-sex marriage in a national survey at a rally in central Sydney Australia

Same-sex couples in Austria have been allowed to enter legal partnerships since 2010, but until now it had not been legal to marriage.

Legal restrictions on gay marriage will end on December 31, 2018, unless the Austrian parliament acts in time. But we're sure it'll come around in the blink of an eye!

As a result, "the distinction between marriage and registered partnership can not be upheld without same-sex couples being discriminated against", it said. It's a refreshingly inclusive judgment'.

But a lesbian couple denied the right to marry who brought the case, plus four other couples who also filed a complaint, can tie the knot now, it said.

". The distinction between marriage and registered partnership cannot be maintained today without discriminating against same-sex couples", a translated statement from the court reads.

The limitations in question were that the previous definition of marriage allowed it only to be between "different sex" partners.

A similar number of other European countries have some sort of same-sex unions or civil partnerships. This court ruling comes less than a month after a majority of people approved same-sex marriage in a referendum in Australia.

In its ruling, the high court noted that civil partnerships, which began for gay couples in 2010, include numerous same rights and responsibilities of marriage, including adoption.

Same-sex marriage is now legal in 25 countries around the world. "All the other European states with marriage equality introduced it (just) the political way", he said in a Facebook post.

"The Austrian Constitutional Court gave the most wonderful Christmas present one could imagine to loving couples", he added.

The move has divided the country's incoming coalition government - the conservative People's Party (OVP) said they would accept the decision, but the far-right Freedom Party (FPO) criticised the court.

Austria's neighbours Germany voted to legalise same-sex marriage in June.

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