Given the recent ruling by the European Court of Human Rights on same-sex marriage, I thought this fact sheet about previous rulings in regards to the LGBT community in Europe might be interesting. It is a worthwhile read.




Schalk and Kopf v. Austria (no. 30141/04)

The applicants are a same-sex couple living in a stable partnership. They asked the Austrian authorities for permission to marry. Their request was refused on the ground that marriage could only be contracted between two persons of opposite sex; this view was upheld by the courts.

The Court first held that the relationship of the applicants fell within the notion of “family life”, just as the relationship of a different-sex couple in the same situation would. However, the European Convention on Human Rights did not oblige a State to grant a same-sex couple access to marriage. The national authorities were best placed to assess and respond to the needs of society in this field, given that marriage had deep-rooted social and cultural connotations differing greatly from one society to another. No violation of Article 12 (right to marriage), and no violation of Article 14 (prohibition of discrimination) in conjunction with Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life) of the European Convention on Human Rights.