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Liechtenstein voters approve civil partnership law

Liechtenstein citizens voted on Sunday in favor of a law that permits same-sex civil partnerships. The results of last week's referendum show that 68 percent of the voters supported [AFP report] the Civil Partnership Act. The Liechtensten Parliament [official website, in German] unanimously approved the law [Vaterland report, in German] on March 16, but opponents of the civil partnership law, Vox Populi [official website, in German], called for a national referendum. The new law will confer the same tax, inheritance and welfare rights that married couples in Liechtenstein receive, but excludes the right to adoption. The law is scheduled to go into effect on September 1, 2011.

Liechtenstein joins a growing contingent of countries and US States that recognize same-sex partnerships as either full marriage or civil unions and partnerships. The Supreme Federal Court of Brazil [official website, in Portuguese] unanimously recognized legal rights [press release, in Portugese; JURIST report] for partners in same-sex civil unions [JURIST news archive], though Hungary added a prohibition against gay marriage [JURIST report] to its Constitution one month earlier. Ireland, which legalized homosexuality in 1993, passed a civil partnership bill [JURIST report] in 2009 extending rights to same-sex couples. Although a Greek court invalidated in May 2009 the first same-sex marriages performed in country, the Swedish parliament passed a same-sex marriage law in April [JURIST reports]. In December 2008, Hungary struck down [JURIST report] a same-sex partnership law by alleging that it would diminish the importance of marriage. In November 2008, the Australian Senate approved [JURIST report] a same-sex equal rights law but did not grant the right to marry.

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