23.11.2009 | Government Bill on Registered Partnership

72 differences to marriage
On 17 November 2009 Austrian Federal Government adopted a bill on registered partnership for same-sex couples. A first analysis brings to light at least 72 differences between registered and married couples. This unequal treatment extends to almost every area of law. It contains inequalities in divorce and maintenance regulations as well as in labour, industrial and social security legislation and many more. RKL-president Graupner heavily criticized the law on national TV

The Conservative Party invested remarkable energy in the prevention of all references to family and children. Registered partners remain legal aliens to the children of their partners. Any rights and benefits married partners receive for their step-children (and even for their parents-in-law) are withheld from registered partners (even in the context of leave for hospice care).

Registered partners cannot choose a joint family-name. Artificial insemination will be explicitly outlawed for same-sex couples and step-parent adoption prohibited. The latter even in the case of the death of the registered partner (a right which unregistered same-sex couples already do enjoy today and which they will lose with registration).

Sexual apartheid

Registered partnership requires a minimum age of 18 while marriage can be entered into as of 16. And same-sex couples are banned from the civil registry (“Standesamt”) where civil marriages are performed. Same-sex partnerships have to be registered in different offices, the so-called District Administrative Authorities (“Bezirksverwaltungsbehörden”), where passports, id-cards, residence-permits, driving-licences and trade-licences have to be applied for.

While marriages have to be performed in a (decent) way that corresponds to the importance of a wedding, there is no such provision for registered partnerships. In addition registration of partnerships must take place in the bureau of the authority while marriage may be performed at any other places like palaces, ships, hotels etc..

Federal parliament is expected to vote on the Bill on 10 Dec 09. Helmut Graupner, president of Rechtskomitee LAMBDA (RKL), on national TV heavily criticized the Bill as an act of segregation, discrimination and remarkable hostility towards children.

Differences to Marriage (short-list) (in German)
Differences to Marriage (long-list) (in German)
Partnership Bill (Text) (in German)
Partnership Bill (Explanatory Report) (in German)