A group of LGBTI activists in Austria are against establishing full marriage equality.
On Thursday (30 March) members of the Homosexual Initiative Vienna (HOSI), Austria’s first association for lesbians and gay people, publicly opposed same-sex marriage – at least for the moment.
They argue same-sex couples would be worse off if the government was to rush a law granting them full equality.
Currently gay couples in Austria can enter civil partnerships.
From Saturday (1 April) onwards, they’ll be allowed to officially ‘marry’ at the registrar’s office; something which until now was reserved for straight couples.
For the HOSI, this marks the end of the ‘last meaningful negative difference’ between marriage and civil partnerships.
‘The now remaining legal differences are either, in practice, of very little meaning or expressly wanted by the HOSI Vienna,’ said Lui Fidelsberger, chairperson of HOSI, in a statement.
‘After step child and general adoption, as well as access to reproductive medicine, have already been extended towards reigstered partnerships (and to same-sex long-term relationships), gays and lesbians with civil partnerships now have, in our opinion, access to a better legal standing compared to marriage.’
What makes civil partnerships better?
Fidelsberger argues the civil partnership law is the far better one, because it is written in modern language.
But, more importantly, she says it does better than the antiquated and often-amended marriage laws when it comes to fulfilling the demands of a modern relationship where both partners have equal rights.
‘Because of this we don’t want to swap civil partnerships for marriage in its current form,’ she said.
‘It would be downright crazy to, for example, apply the stricter divorce rules to civil partnerships!
‘And we don’t see it as a shortcoming – quite the opposite! – that the civil partnership law does not have anachronistic regulations for the engagement, or for entering a partnership, with minors.’
The HOSI is not completely against equal marriage, though.
Instead, they want to have a proper reform of Austrian marriage and divorce laws before marriage is opened to all couples – no matter if they’re gay or straight.