Thursday, December 10, 2009

Austrian parliament OKs gay civil unions

Austria's parliament has passed legislation allowing gay couples to enter into civil unions. The decision is slated to become law on Jan. 1. It will give same-sex couples a series of rights enjoyed by heterosexuals, including access to a pension if one partner dies and alimony in the event of a split. However, the new law does not allow the adoption of children or artificial insemination. Justice Minister Claudia Bandion-Ortner said Thursday's vote was a big and historic step for the Alpine republic. The opposition right-wing Freedom Party rejected the legislation that was seen as a compromise between the governing coalition. The Greens argued it does not go far enough. (AP)