Court: same-sex marriage is not universal right

Countries are not obliged to allow same-sex marriage says European Court of Human Rights

Published June 25, 2010 1:27PM (EDT)

The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that countries are not obliged to allow gay marriage, rejecting a bid by an Austrian couple to force the state to let them wed.

The court said the rights of Horst Michael Schalk and Johann Franz Kopf had not been violated by their inability to get married.

In Austria, same-sex couples can enter into legally recognized partnerships, similar to marriage but different in some ways.

A panel of seven judges ruled unanimously Thursday that the couple was not covered by the guarantee of the right to marry in Europe's human rights convention.

The judges said there was "an emerging European consensus towards legal recognition of same-sex couples," but left it to individual states to decide what form that should take.

By Associated Press

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