Gadzooks! It must be Christmas.

Austria’s Constitutional Court has decided that same-sex couples will be allowed to marry by the beginning of 2019, ruling that the existing laws, which have allowed civil partnerships since 2010, are discriminatory.

The move brings Austria into line with many other European nations including Germany, France, Britain and Spain.

The Constitutional Court said that civil partnerships will remain an option after the law is changed, and will then be open to straight couples.

In its ruling, the Court said “the distinction between marriage and civil partnership can no longer be maintained today without discriminating against same-sex couples,” adding that keeping the two institutions separate suggests that “people with same-sex sexual orientation are not equal to people with heterosexual orientation”.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/austria-same-sex-gay-marriage-legal-constitutional-court-lgbt-rights-start-date-couples-a8092516.html

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Gay and right wing

CNN looks at gay men in Germany who have joined politically far right political groups, such as Alternative for Germany (AfD), who, if opinion polls are correct, are likely to secure enough votes to enter the Bundestag after the German general election on 24 September.

Karsten P. empties a test tube filled with metal pieces into the palm of his hand. They’re the tiny screws and bolts that held his face together after he and his partner Sven were violently assaulted in a life-changing attack outside their local store.

Two surgeries later and fearful of being attacked again, the openly gay 52-year-old taxi driver — who doesn’t want to be identified because of concerns of another attack — avoids public spaces and always takes pepper spray with him. He and his partner have also been forced to move neighborhoods in the northwest German city of Bremen following mounting costs as a result of being injured.

“I went outside and saw someone kicking my partner’s head. I was trying to stop him and right at that moment, I got hit from the side,” Karsten recalls about the attack. “I kind of lost consciousness and when I got up again, I thought my partner was dead. He was all covered in blood and he didn’t move at all.”

Police identified the attackers as two locally known Muslim extremists. They were never arrested and later fled to Syria. After demanding answers from local prosecutors and the mayor’s office and not getting a response, Karsten turned to Germany’s far right party, the Alternative for Germany (AfD).

“I don’t like everything they say,” Karsten says, “but this is too dangerous for gay people to live openly here, if we get attacked like that. We need a party that’s talking openly about this.”

http://edition.cnn.com/2017/09/14/europe/germany-far-right-lgbt-support/index.html

Goodbye Pierre

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Pierre Bergé | Agence France Press | 17156gh

The French fashion tycoon Pierre Bergé – the business brains behind the Yves Saint Laurent empire – has died aged 86.

The longtime partner of the late designer Yves Saint Laurent died in his sleep early Friday at his country home at Saint-Remy-de-Provence in southern France.

The passionate bibliophile and art collector was a tireless campaigner for gay rights and donated a large part of his fortune to AIDS research.

Gay Activist sends condolences to family, friends and colleagues.

Spy on your kids!

A French company was offering “invisible PC spy software” which could be used “to find out if your son is gay”.

Listing a series of “clues” Fireworld suggested that “hacking his Facebook account” and seeing if he had visited gay websites would confirm a parent’s suspicions.

The company has since taken down the article.

So much for the European citizen’s right to a private life!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-41022827

Which toilet shall I use today?

A hotel in Cavallino, Italy has created a storm with its unusual toilet icons, three to be precise – a woman, a man, and a “gay” man.

Several Italian dailies and media outlets commented that three toilets was even two too many in an era where unisex facilities are increasingly popular.

Associazione LeA, the Italian LGBT rights lobby, released a statement denouncing the negative attitude.

https://www.thelocal.it/20170814/hotel-with-separate-gay-toilet-icon-causes-uproar

German gay marriage legal, but faces legal challenge

The President of Germany, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, signed the “marriage for all” bill into law on Thursday. The new law will come into effect after 1 October 2017.

The final step in the legalisation of gay and lesbian marriage comes three weeks after the country’s Bundestag approved the law at the end of June.

The law was controversial, and was rushed through both houses of parliament before the summer break.

Lawmakers who are opposed to “marriage for all” have threatened to have the legality of the new law checked by the Federal Court of Justice, which is Germany’s highest court.

The main change between civil partnerships and marriage equality in German law means same-sex couples will be able to jointly adopt children.

http://www.dw.com/en/german-president-signs-gay-marriage-bill-into-law/a-39795137