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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, June 24, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 25
Liechtenstein approves same-sex partnerships
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Liechtenstein approves same-sex partnerships

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Voters in the European country of Liechtenstein have approved same-sex 'registered partnerships' in a nation-wide referendum.

More than 68% of Liechtenstein's voters approved the new law. The results were announced by the Swiss news agency ATS on June 20.

Under the law, same-sex couples will have the same tax, inheritance, and welfare rights as those enjoyed by married opposite-sex couples. According to ATS, the law is modeled on Swiss partnership rules adopted in 2007 and does not include a right to adopt children.

'With this clear 'yes' to partnerships, Liechtenstein & is putting an end to the current discrimination faced by same-sex couples,' Liechtenstein's Prime Minister Klaus Tschuetscher told ATS.

Liechtenstein's parliament unanimously passed a bill to establish same-sex registered partnerships on March 16.

The right-wing group Vox Populi forced a referendum on the issue by filing a constitutionally mandated petition with 1,208 signatures, somewhat more than the required 1,000.

Vox Populi - Latin for 'voice of the people' - is led by a cousin of Roman Catholic Archbishop Wolfgang Haas. Haas is a known supporter of the traditionalist Catholic Priestly Society of St. Peter.

Liechtenstein is the twelfth European country to legalize same-sex partnerships or civil unions. Seven other European countries have adopted marriage equality laws.

Liechtenstein is a small country of about 35,000 people, including some 14,000 voters, nestled in an Alpine valley between Austria and Switzerland.

About 78% of its people identify as Roman Catholics.

The head of state is a hereditary prince, but the government is a parliamentary democracy. Liechtenstein's parliament of 25 members is controlled by the conservative Patriotic Union, but all its members approved the registered-partners bill.

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