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No right to marriage in Europe

Timothy Kincaid

June 24th, 2010

The European Court of Human Rights in Strausboug has determined that members of the Council of Europe need not offer marriage equality if they do not wish to do so. The decision was made on a suit against Austria by a same-sex couple. (Guardian)

In a key judgment issued today, the European Court of Human Rights ruled on a complaint of a homosexual couple in Austria who were denied the right to marry. Although very recently (January 2010) Austria created the possibility to enter into a Registered Partnership for same-sex couples, marriage still is not possible. The applicants in this case, Schalk and Kopf, complained both under article 12 (right to marry) and article 14 (prohibition of discrimination) in conjunction with article 8 (right to private and family life). The court found no violation of their human rights, although it was very divided on the issue of discrimination (four votes against three in holding that Austria did not discriminate).

The court found that same-sex couples fall within the definition of family life and that “they are in a relevantly similar situation to a different-sex couple as regards their need for legal recognition and protection of their relationship.” However, because Austria had (mid case) enacted a civil unions law, they fell within the wide margin of leniency which the court found that member states have in the precise way in which they recognize same-sex unions.

As best I can tell, the Court did appear to suggest that some measure of recognition and protection for same-sex unions is required. It will be interesting to see whether this decision will be interpreted as a decision that compels member states to offer some measure of recognition, as many of the 47 nations – including Italy, Greece, the Baltic States and most of Eastern Europe – do not.

Comments

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Lindoro Almaviva
June 24th, 2010 | LINK

and we continue our route to 2nd class citizenship around the world. I am not making any suggestions here, but I wonder how long until a group of radicals espouse the idea of withholding their taxes (some would say boycotting) from the government.

Seems like we are good to pay taxes and pay for the welfare and education of families around the nation and the world (after all, gay people, as single, fall into a higher tax bracket than married heterosexuals)but those taxes have not guaranteed us equality.

Tony
June 24th, 2010 | LINK

If discrimination based on sexual orientation is banned, then how it is NOT discrimination to deny a marriage license? This doesn’t make any sense. Anti-gay or not, the law is the law.

paul j stein
June 24th, 2010 | LINK

What about a sort of nation-wide gay village/commune. No one owns property, we all rent from a gay owned mega corporation. All income goes to a Cayman Islands bank. No one pays ANY taxes. When it comes time to be arrested there is NOTHING to seize, and only full living expenses provided by the Feds. When the tables get turned and the BREEDERS have to support us then maybe a change will be in the wind.Taxing the hell out of us and telling us it’s ok to be second class and support some breeders spawn is bullshit.

Fred in the UK
June 25th, 2010 | LINK

In reply to Tony, the court did not claim that this was not discrimination, just that the Austrian Government was within the relatively wide leeway afforded it by the convention (or at least it is now since the enactment of civil unions).

If it is correct that the court now believes that a complete legal disregard for lesbian and gay relationships is banned by the convention then it is an important step forwards.

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