It was a freezing cold Monday morning in Vienna when two weeks ago a historical moment arrived for the LGBTI Community in Austria: The Austrian constitutional court ruled that marriage should be made available for same sex couples and registered partnership for opposite sex couples.
Austria is now the first European country to recognize marriage equality for same-sex couples as a fundamental human right.
The court’s ruling made clear that the existing laws were discriminatory. Austria is now the first European country to recognize marriage equality for same-sex couples as a fundamental human right. The law will come into force on 1 January 2019. This is a ground-breaking decision which we hope will inspire other countries.
But there is still a long way to go. On Monday Austria’s new conservative-right wing coalition government was sworn in. In their government programme they define family as follows: a community between men and women and their mutual children. No single word about new family forms like single parents, patchwork or rainbow families. The conservative Austrian’s People’s Party has always strongly opposed marriage equality and the right-wing Austrian’s Freedom Party regularly stirs up hatred on social media against the LGBTI community.
Representatives of the Catholic church have publicly voiced their concerns regarding the judgement made by the constitutional court. In addition, the Austrian media covers LGBTI issues poorly.
We are still far from acceptance without exception in Austria.
We are still far from acceptance without exception in Austria. LGBTI people still need to become more visible in everyday life without fearing harassment or negative consequences. Marriage equality will help with this, but it is only one – if crucial - step towards full acceptance and equality.