In a blow to gay activists in the United Kingdom, the European Court of Human Rights has ruled that the Austrian government has no obligation to recognise the marriage of a gay couple.
Austrians Horst Schalk and Johann Kopf argued that the failure to recognise their marriage violated their human rights under article 12 (right to marry), article 14 (prohibition of discrimination), and article 8 (right to private and family life) of the European Convention on Human Rights.
While the Court acknowledged that the right to marry was not limited to “marriage between two persons of the opposite sex”, it also held that the question whether or not to allow same-sex marriage should be left to the national laws of the Convention states. Since the national law of Austria does not currently recognise marriage between gay couples, Schalk and Kopf’s Convention rights were not impacted.
Well, he states that the Court’s “two significant findings” that the right to family life and the right to marry are applicable to same-sex relationships indicate that one day it will recognise the right to same-sex marriage as a right under the Convention. But this will only happen, he adds, once a “European consensus” exists -i.e., when a majority of the 47 Convention countries have done so. Currently only 7 of the 47 countries recognise gay marriage (Belgium, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain and Sweden).
** Advice and Information about Family Law **
Depending on your circumstances, however, you may want to speak with a solicitor who specialises in family law. You can find a solicitor in your area for free via solicitor matching services, which can also help you to understand the best course of action and whether you are ready to hire a solicitor.
- Straight Couple Denied Civil Partnership Launch ECHR Appeal (FindLaw)
- The European court’s hidden but hopeful message on same-sex marriage (Guardian)
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