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According to german website queer.de, Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern presented last week a comprehensive program of reforms from his social-democratic party (SPÖ), which also addresses the equality of gays and lesbians. The 140-page “Plan A” (A stands for Austria) also calls for a reduction in bureaucracy, a minimum wage of 1,500 euros per month and a new right to vote.
On page 111, the gay and lesbian program promises “equal rights at all levels”. The plan foresees, among other things, the opening of the marriage for same-sex couples, who even benefit the taxpayer. For example, in the “Plan A”, it is written; “Did you know that marriage equality saves costs? By reducing the parallel structure at the registries, for example, to name only one aspect.”
Protection against discrimination
With this plan, the Austrian chancellor wants to extend the equal treatment legislation. At present discrimination protection under the heading “sexual orientation” in Austria applies only to employment law, but not – as in Germany, for example – in civil law. “If you do not want to rent an apartment because of its gender or skin color, but someone does not get a rental contract because of its sexual orientation, that is not forbidden,” says Plan A.
In addition to legal protection, the SPÖ plan also provides for the protection of discrimination in the Federal Constitution to be anchored.
The SPÖ, however, will not be able to implement marriage for same-sex couples any time soon, at least not until the next National Council elections in autumn of 2018, since the OVP (populist party) still rejects the legal equality of gays and lesbians.
Last June, Christian Kern was the first Austrian Chancellor to attend the Gay Pride. He greeted the crowd with these words: “I’m Chancellor of Austria and I’m at the Gay Pride. So what?”