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Austria’s supreme court has ruled to legalise same-sex marriage in the country from 1 January 2019.

Judges said current law, which allows registered partnerships for same-sex couples but prevents them from getting married, is discriminatory.

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

It comes after a case was brought by two women in a registered civil partnership who were denied the right to marry by authorities in the capital Vienna.

The distinction between a civil partnership and marriage can no longer be upheld without discriminating against same-sex couples, the court said.

“The resulting discriminatory effect is seen in the fact that through the different title of the family status people living in same-sex partnerships have to disclose their sexual orientation even in situations, in which it is not and must not be relevant and… are highly likely to be discriminated,” it added.

Campaigners welcomed the move, with Homosexual Initiative Vienna (HOSI) describing it as an “opportunity for a renewed call for a fundamental reform of marriage”.

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In April 2001, the Netherlands became the first country in the world to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry in a civil ceremony.

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Last month, Australia became the 26th nation to follow suit after the country voted overwhelming in favour of legalising same-sex marriage.

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