Austria Court Legalises Same-Sex Marriage From Start of 2019
Austria's Constitutional Court has decided that same-sex couples will be allowed to marry by the beginning of 2019, ruling that the existing laws are discriminatory.
The move brings Austria into line with many other European nations including Germany, France, Britain and Spain.
Same-sex couples in Austria have been allowed to enter legal partnerships since 2010, but until now have not been able to marry.
The Constitutional Court examined a 2009 law following a complaint from two women who were refused permission to enter a formal marriage by authorities in Vienna.
It said in a ruling published on Tuesday that restrictions on same-sex marriage will be lifted at the end of 2018 unless the government does so itself earlier.
The Constitutional Court said that civil partnerships will remain an option after the law is changed, and will then be open to straight couples.
Gay marriage has been legalised in many countries in western Europe, most recently in Germany, where there was stiff opposition to the change for several years.
Almost a dozen other European countries have some sort of same-sex unions or civil partnerships, according to the Pew Research Centre.
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