Main | Thursday, December 10, 2009

Austria Approves Civil Unions

The Austrian parliament approved a civil unions bill today, bringing the number of EU member nations with such a law to ten.
The bill, slated to become law Jan. 1., will give same-sex couples a series of rights enjoyed by their heterosexual counterparts, including access to a pension if one partner dies and alimony in the event of a split. It bans the adoption of children or artificial insemination. "We are living in the 21st century and I'm very glad this step is being taken today," Justice Minister Claudia Bandion-Ortner said during parliamentary debate leading up to the vote. Christian Hoegl, co-president of the Homosexual Initiative Vienna, Austria's oldest group of gays and lesbians, agreed. "It's a relief, a big success and a reward for two decades of lobbying," Hoegl said. Earlier in the day, Hoegl and co-president Jona Solomon passed out pink rum-filled cupcakes to parliamentarians, along with a letter that urged them to vote yes.
As we saw with Ireland yesterday, some LGBT advocates opposed the bill, arguing that it was too limiting.

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