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European court: No obligation for nations to legalize same-sex marriage

June 30, 2010

In a unanimous decision, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union “did not impose an obligation on the Austrian Government to grant a same-sex couple … access to marriage” and that the “decision whether or not to allow same-sex marriage [is left] to regulation by member States’ national law.” Austria has legalized homosexual civil unions but does not permit homosexual marriage; two Austrian men had filed suit, claiming they were victims of discrimination.

The Court, however, also concluded in its June 24 decision that “the relationship of the applicants, a cohabiting same-sex couple living in a stable partnership, fell within the notion of ‘family life,’ just as the relationship of a different-sex couple in the same situation would.”

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