Children of gay parents challenge government over marriage equality laws

Joe Williams November 28, 2015
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Five children from same-sex families are challenging marriage equality laws in Austria.

Austria’s lack of marriage equality is being challenged by children of same-sex parents in the country.

The children joined their parents in court in Vienna yesterday, to protest the ban on same-sex marriage in Austria.

They hope to encourage a change in the law, arguing that they wish to be seen as “legitimate” children – with married parents.

Children of gay parents challenge government over marriage equality laws

Austria currently grants equal adoption rights to same-sex couples, and they are also granted medically assisted conception by the government – yet they still unable to marry.

Dr Helmut Graupner, who is representing the five families says he is shocked that the country allows such equal family rights, but is yet to rule in favour of marriage equality.

“Austria made the second, third, fourth and fifth step [towards marriage equality] before the first,” he said.

“The marriage ban must fall, for the sake of the children.

The Austrian Constitutional Court lifted the ban on adoption by same-sex couples earlier this year.

Previously, Austrians in same-sex relationships could only adopt the biological children of their partners’ since 2013, but could not jointly adopt non-biological children.

In addition, the country’s justice minister recently introduced a proposal which would allow gay men and women to apply to have their historical convictions pardoned.

This comes two years after the European Court of Human Rights accused the country of breaking the European Convention on Human Rights through not clearing the historic criminal convictions.

Homosexuality was decriminalised in Austria in 1971, but an unequal age of consent remained until 2002.

Children of gay parents challenge government over marriage equality laws

The proposed draft law would not automatically pardon those convicted under historic anti-gay laws.

It requires those convicted, or a relative or the district attorney’s office to apply for a pardon, which must be granted by a court.

Campaigners from the ‘Ehe Gleich?’ (Marriage Equality?) group have set up a petition to lift the ban on marriage for same-sex couples; so far, more than 45,000 people have signed.

The group have also released a series of compelling posters with parents and grandparents asking the question: “Why should our child have to be illegitimate?”

Austrian citizens can sign the Ehe Gleich? petition on the campaign website.

More: adoption, Austria, Austria, Equality, Europe, Law, LGBT, same sex parents

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