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Austria’s Supreme Court Just Legalized Gay Marriage

Two men hold hands.
Jeff Chiu/AP

Though 2018 is just around the corner, some Austrians are already looking forward to 2019.

On Tuesday, Austria’s supreme court ruled that the current law, which limits same-sex unions to “civil partnerships,” is discriminatory, Reuters reported.

The decision means that same-sex couples in the country will be allowed to marry beginning 2019. 

Same-sex couples will still be able to opt for a civil partnership over a formal marriage, if they choose to — but so will hetersexual couples, according to CNN, making all the same options available to both same-sex and heterosexual partners.

Take Action: Let’s consider our own biases as we build a world where everyone sees equal #WeSeeEqual

With this landmark decision, Austria joins several other nations in the European Union who now recognize same-sex marriages, including neighboring Germany, as well as the UK, Denmark, Spain, and Sweden.

The court ruled that it will remove the requirement that partners be “two people of different sex” in order to be married, after a complaint was filed by two women, the Associated Press reported. The pair were already in a civil partnership, but were denied permission to be married by officials in Austria’s capital, Vienna.

Read more: Australia’s Senate Just Passed Same-Sex Marriage Bill in Huge Step Toward LGBTQ Equality

In its decision, the court said that the current law forces “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 ... [making them] highly likely to be discriminated against.”

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Though the ruling has been criticized by the far-right Freedom Party, according to Reuters, on social media, people are celebrating the move toward greater equality.