The tiny alpine country of Liechtenstein has made good on its promise to recognize same-sex couples. In a unanimous decision, the parliament approved the establishment of partnerschaftsgesetz, a legal status akin to the registered partnerships in its neighbors, Switzerland and Austria. (Queerblog.it)
By unanimous vote of twenty-one members present, the Parliament of the Principality of Liechtenstein has approved on second reading the law that allows civil unions between same sex. The first steps began in about 2009 when Aurelia Frick, Minister of Justice, announced that it will present a bill to that effect.
The law does not mirror marriage, disallowing adoption or reproductive rights, but does provide parity for inheritance, social security law, in occupational pension plans, the Immigration and Naturalization law, tax law and other public law.
The parliament also amended the bill to bring forward the start date from January 1, 2012 to September 1, 2011. However, within 30 days after the publishing of the law, opponents may subject the law to referendum.
Prior to passage, Catholic Archbishop Wolfgang Haas conservative asserted pressure saying, “the practice of homosexuality is objectively a grave sin” and that recognition of same-sex couples would be a scandal. Catholics and conservatives fought the bill in the public forum through letters to the paper and debate. But while about 80% of Liechtenstein’s residents are affiliated with the Catholic Church, the parliament’s unanimous decision – in a country where legislative representation is about 1 to 1,400 – may suggest little appetite for an *anti-gay referendum.
(much thanks to Jutta Zalud for bringing this to our attention)
* It is worth noting that Switzerland, Liechtenstein’s neighbor with which they are closely politically tied, is the only country to enact partner recognition through referendum, passing a similar registry in 2005 by 58%.