In Austria, the court legalized same-sex marriage from 2019

Austria legalizes same-sex marriage

2019 in Austria, same-sex couples can marry.

"If the court denies the uniqueness and special legal status of marriage, built on the diversity of sexes, it denies reality and does no service to society", said Vienna Cardinal Christoph Schonborn, conference president.

The ruling brings Austria up to speed with other European nations including Germany, Spain, France and the United Kingdom, all of which have legalized same-sex marriage in the past several years.

In a statement, it said "the distinction between marriage and civil partnership can no longer be maintained today without discriminating against same-sex couples", adding that keeping the two institutions separate suggests that "people with same-sex sexual orientation are not equal to people with heterosexual orientation". He applauded the Austrian court for recognising equality for same-sex couples as a "fundamental human right".

While LGBTQI couples will have to wait for that rule expiration date to pass, the court also ruled that the individual couple that challenged the issue in court - along with four other couples who filed complaints - would be allowed to marry immediately. The country is in something of a state of political flux at the moment, with the conservative People's Party now negotiating with the hard-lined far-right Freedom Party to form a coalition Government following on from general elections in October.

Both parties voted against same-sex marriage when it came before parliament earlier this year. It opened the way for same-sex marriage to become legal in 2019.

Elsewhere Australians recently decisively backed a change to their laws in a postal vote - the result was non-binding but campaigners hope the result will push lawmakers to legalise same-sex unions.

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