Austria to boost same-sex civil partnership rights… just don’t call it a marriage

A couple kiss as they take part in a "Regenbogenparade" (Rainbow Parade) with thousands of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender individuals, to ask the Austrian government for equal rights for gay relationships on July 4, 2009, in Vienna. (Getty)

The Austrian government has drawn up plans to grant more rights to same-sex couples in registered partnerships, but it won’t be pushing forward with equal marriage.

The country is currently governed by a grand coalition between the left-wing Social Democrats and the centre-right People’s Party.

Same-sex registered partnerships were introduced in 2010, allowing gay and lesbian couples to finally gain some legal recognition.

The Social Democrats support reform to bring in equal marriage, but face opposition from their coalition partners, who oppose the plans.

As part of a compromise, this week a draft law was submitted to the country’s Parliament that would boost rights for couples in registered partnerships.

They will gain a swathe of new rights, allowing couples to register at the district clerk’s office alongside marriages, though separate from them. They were previously managed by a different department.

Couples will also be able to adopt a common “family name” as married couples already can.


The law is expected to pass later this year.

However, it stops short of granting the right to marry to same-sex couples.

Austrian Eurovision icon Conchita Wurst has previously spoken about her frustration with her homeland.

She said: “I’m a human being and I have the same rights as everyone else, so I don’t need to discuss about that because it should be a common thing. So stop discussing, just make it equal.

“I don’t need a campaign, I just need decisions. I don’t need more time wasted. I’m not a politician, I don’t know how long it takes to make rights, but I’m one of thousands of thousands of people who are waiting.”

The country was bitterly divided earlier this year by a contentious Presidential election.

In May, the country held a two-way Presidential run-off election between Norbert Hofer, the leader of the far-right Freedom Party, and independent Green candidate Alexander Van der Bellen.

Van der Bellen was initially declared the winner by just a 0.2% margin. However, a court threw out the results after the Freedom Party alleged that postal votes had been improperly handled.

A re-run is set to be held on December 4.