Austria: Second Recent Same-sex Marriage Lawsuit is Dismissed

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A second lawsuit filed against Austria’s same-sex marriage ban in recent months was dismissed last week.

A regional administrative court in Linz ruled that there is no ground for the case since there is no constitutional issue. They added that it’s up to the Legislature to decide the legal status of opposite-sex and same-sex couples.

This is the second dismissal in four months in the country and the first case in Upper Austria.

The legal team first attempted to bring down the ban at the end of 2015 using the argument that the LGBT community in Austria is already afforded the same adoption and in-vitro rights as heterosexual couples so there should be no reason to deny them marriage, but a negative ruling in Vienna set the effort back.

Undeterred by the December ruling, the attorney tried his luck in Linz last month and the verdict was released on Friday.

Currently, Austria offers civil partnerships with full adoption rights, but the partnerships have at least 32 legal deficiencies when compared to the country’s marriage laws. One fear by the plaintiffs is that partnerships will not always be honored to the fullest if abroad, even if the countries have a same-sex marriage law in place.

There are also some couples who would prefer marriage over partnerships since couples in civil partnerships cannot choose their own last name and may fear being outed by the civil partnership’s surname clause, which is sometimes given the nickname the “Pink Triangle”, a reference to WWII’s public labeling of homosexuals.

Despite a Constitutional Court ruling that civil partnerships in Austria must be improved, a bill to that effect remains stalled in Parliament along with a bill to legalize same-sex marriage.

For more information on the LGBT rights situation in Austria, please visit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_rights_in_Austria

-Special thanks to Robin for his help.

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