So Austria’s gays were just granted civil union rights! This means they can get a pretty piece of paper, just like heterosexual couples, and involve themselves in their partners’ social security claims and inheritance rights and tax filings and pensions and stuff. Then what’s the bad news?
These new civil unions do not grant them the right to adopt children. Nor can they perform their ceremonies in front of a civil registrar; they will need a “local authority” to conduct the service. (Nevermind civil registrars will recognize the unions.)
But even that is too much for — get ready for it, get ready for it — Austria’s Catholic Church! They’ve called the new law, which takes effect January 1, “neither appropriate nor necessary, because the existing provisions for civil rights already grant appropriate protections.” This, even though married hetero couples still enjoy some 37 more rights than civil unioned gays. But on the bright side for the Church? The law is more limited (read: discriminating) that other civil unions laws across Europe. Relays the Catholic News Agency:
Chairman of the Austrian Bishop’s Conference, Vienna Archbishop Christoph Schoenborn [pictured, right], noted in a press release that the positive aspect of the law is that it does not create parity between these “registered partnerships” and true marriages. However, he added that this new law has “unforeseeable consequences for all of society.”