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History in Austria as first same-sex couple wed

In 2017, Austria’s constitutional court made a ruling that same-sex couples would be granted the right to marry on Jan. 1, 2019.

Following years of legal battles by Austrian LGBT rights groups, in the predominantly Catholic nation, two women have become the first same-sex couple to wed.

On Tuesday, the pair – Nicole Kopaunik and Daniela Paier – tied the knot in the southern region of the country in a ceremony which took place shortly after midnight after a long-awaited court ruling took effect, according to an ORF report.

The constitutional court reviewed a 2009 law after authorities in Vienna refused to allow a couple the permission to formally marry. Austria now joins several other European nations – including Germany, France, Britain and Spain – which permits same-sex unions or civil partnerships, according to the Pew Research Centre.

In 2017, Austria’s constitutional court made a ruling that same-sex couples would be granted the right to marry on Jan. 1, 2019. Prior to the decision, same-sex couples were afforded fewer legal protective privileges through a registered partnership, in 2010.

The Austrian Constitutional Court, on making the ruling, said “the distinction between marriage and civil partnership can no longer be maintained today without discriminating against same-sex couples,” also adding that keeping the two institutions separate suggests that “people with same-sex sexual orientation are not equal to people with heterosexual orientation.”

Austria’s governing parties, the People’s Party and the Freedom Party, strongly opposed granting same-sex couples the right to marry but have stated that they will respect the court’s ruling.

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