Two women have become the first couple to take advantage of marriage equality in Austria, exchanging their vows shortly after midnight on 1 January. Nicole Kopaunik and Daniela Paier were wed in the southern town of Velden just five minutes into , when same-sex marriage officially became legal, reports ORF. The unnamed lesbian plaintiffs in the case were allowed to tie the knot in October of last year, but Kopaunik and Paier are the first to do so since marriage equality was extended to the entire nation. In Austria granted same-sex couples the right to enter into legal civil partnerships, but the ruling has allowed all couples the choice of civil union or marriage regardless of sexuality. The Kopauniks were supported by the Velden community in their bid to marry, with wedding planners and the local government helping to clear any obstacles that stood in their way. You can also read our latest magazines or Join us on our Facebook page and Twitter feed.
Registered (civil) partnerships
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A referendum in Romania this weekend to define marriage explicitly as between a man and woman underlines the largely East-West split in Europe over same-sex unions. In the Netherlands became the first country in the world to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry in a civil ceremony. In several of these countries, gay marriage had been preceded by civil partnerships, which come with fewer rights, Denmark being the pioneer in Some European countries still only allow such partnerships, rather than marriage, including Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Italy and Switzerland. Slovenians also allow civil partnerships but in rejected in a referendum a proposal to legalise gay marriage. In June the Czech government backed draft legislation that would make the country the first post-communist member of the European Union to legalise same-sex marriage.
Austrian women celebrate country's first same-sex marriage
Same-sex relationships have been legal in the country since National Service is obligatory for all male citizens of Austria, regardless of sexual orientation. With effect from 1 st January , Article of the Austrian Criminal Code was amended to protect LGB people in its provisions prohibiting incitement to hatred through the inclusion of sexual orientation in the list of protected grounds.