Liechtenstein parliament approves same-sex partner recognition

Timothy Kincaid

March 21st, 2011

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. (

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%.

Wayne Sizemore

March 22nd, 2011

This is good news, but not good enough. We must achieve equality and that means NO “special” category, NO legal difference. Marriage must either be afforded to queers OR Civil Union must replace marriage for everyone. The basis of discrimination against queers is corrupted religious doctrine. Civil Union is placating and allows bigots the stretching room to continue ostracizing queers and keeps that separation fertile for hatred. If queers are not given the rights of marriage then marriage should be eliminated from any legal recognition for anyone. EQUALITY!


March 22nd, 2011

True, Wayne, but considering that Liechtenstein is a majority-Catholic country this news is wonderful. It’s a step in the right direction. It’s a step toward full marriage equality. What is particularly encouraging is that it passed unanimously, despite official and vocal opposition from the church. Several countries have followed a “civil unions first, marriage equality soon thereafter” pattern, and a partnership act is better than zilch. It’s far more than we here in America currently have.


March 23rd, 2011

Liechtenstein is currently run by two right-wing parties, the left has only one seat in parliament so this is a very good news. Besides they will only go for full marriage rights when Switzerland has them.

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