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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, December 25, 2015 - Volume 43 Issue 52
Setbacks for marriage equality in Europe: Austria, Slovenia, Romania reject relationship recognition
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Setbacks for marriage equality in Europe: Austria, Slovenia, Romania reject relationship recognition

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Three European countries have rejected bids to recognize and give legal protections to same-sex relationships.

In Austria, an administrative court rejected a lawsuit on behalf of five children of Gay parents seeking marriage rights for their parents.

In the December 21 ruling, the court rejected the children's claim that they were stigmatized because their parents were prevented from marrying. Children of unwed parents no longer face significant social problems, the court said.

The lawsuit was not supported by HOSI Wien, Austria's main LGBT rights group, which is advocating for a broad reform of all Austrian marriage laws before tackling same-sex marriage.

In Slovenia, one of the successor states of the former Yugoslavia, voters repealed the county's marriage equality law. The vote was a lopsided 63% against same-sex marriage to 37% in favor.

Slovenia's parliament passed marriage equality in March and sought to block the referendum, but the Slovenian Constitutional Court ordered the vote to proceed.

Only days before the referendum, Pope Francis endorsed repeal, telling Slovenian visitors to the Vatican that 'everyone, especially those with public responsibility, [should] support the family, a structural reference point for the life of society.'

In Romania, the parliament voted down a civil unions bill introduced by Green Party leader Remus Cernea. Cernea had also sponsored a similar bill in 2013, at which time he was denounced by Romanian Orthodox church leaders as a tool of Satan. This time opponents charged that if the bill passed, humans would soon be allowed to marry dolphins.

The European Union (EU) currently has 28 members. Same-sex marriage is legal in 11 of them: Belgium, Denmark, Finland (effective 2017), France, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland.)

Civil unions are legal in eight EU nations: Austria, Croatia, Cyprus (effective date pending), the Czech Republic, Estonia (effective 2016), Germany, Hungary, and Malta.

Greece is currently considering a same-sex civil unions bill.

No partnership recognitions exist in eight EU nations: Bulgaria, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia.

Non-EU members Norway and Iceland legalized same-sex marriage in 2009 and 2010, respectively. Non-EU member Switzerland legalized registered partnerships in 2007.

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