Saturday, 28 March 2015

Ratzenböck and Seydl v Austria - communicated case concerning a different-sex couple who wish to enter into a 'registered partnership' (currently reserved for same-sex couples)

The European Court of Human Rights have communicated the complaint in Ratzenböck and Seydl v Austria. The complaint concerns an opposite-sex couple who do not want to contract a 'traditional civil marriage' (because it does 'not correspond with their idea of an institutionalised partnership') but instead want to contract a registered partnership.

In Austria, the Registered Partnership Act (Eingetragene Partnerschaft-Gesetz) provides same-sex couples with the possibility of legally formalising their partnership but explicitly (at section 5 § 1(1)) states that differentsex couples are not allowed to enter into a registered partnership.

The domestic courts have confirmed that a different-sex couple cannot enter into a registered partnership. 

Ms. Ratzenböck and Mr. Seydl complain under Article 8 of the ECHR that the Austrian authorities’ decision to deny them access to a registered partnership violated their right to respect for their private and family life. Under Article 14 read in conjunction with Article 8 of the ECHR they complain that their right not to be discriminated on the basis of their gender and their sexual orientation was violated by being refused access to a registered partnership.


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