On June 24, 2010, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled 4-3 that the European Convention on Human Rights does not mandate that member states recognize same-sex marriages. The applicants, an Austrian same-sex couple, argued that their country's prohibition on same-sex marriage violated their rights under the Article 8 right to private and family life, the Article 12 right to marry and the Article 14 prohibition against discrimination. They argued that because of social changes, marriage is no longer an institution aimed at procreation and the education of children and is instead a "union of two persons which encompassed all aspects of their lives." The Austrian government argued that because of the wording of Article 12 and the lack of European consensus on the issue, the court should uphold the ban on same-sex marriage. In rejecting the applicants' argument and siding with Austria, the court noted that only six of 47 states party to the convention had legalized same-sex marriage.
Learn more about the ECHR and same-sex marriage from the JURIST news archive.
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