Australia

Austria’s top court legalizes same-sex marriage

A Rainbow Pride march in Vienna earlier this year. Photo: Alexander Klein/AFP

Austria's top court said on Tuesday that it has ruled that same-sex couples can marry, bringing the Alpine country into line with more than a dozen other European nations.

"The Constitutional Court nullified with a decision on December 4th, 2017 the legal regulation that until now prevented such couples from marrying," a statement said.

It said that this would come into force on December 31, 2018. The ruling came after a case was brought by two women in a registered civil partnership who were denied the right to marry by authorities in the capital Vienna.

READ ALSO: Vienna to host EuroPride event in 2019

In April 2001 the Netherlands became the first country in the world to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry in a civil ceremony.

More than a dozen European countries have followed including most recently Germany. But others only allow same-sex couples to enter into civil partnerships.

Many eastern European countries — including Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Slovakia — deny homosexuals the right to marry or enter into unions.

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