Austria Approves Same Sex Partnerships
Vienna has already shown itself to be a congenial place for gay travellers, winning the "Gay Destination of the Year" award back in 2004.
Now, steps have been taken to put same sex partnerships on a similar legal footing to those in several other European countries.
The Austrian government has passed a bill allowing gay couples equal rights to heterosexuals with regards to pensions and alimony. What's more, they can enter into civil partnerships, which can be registered at the municipal office or the magistrate's office.
This in effect is a compromise, because the conservative People's Party blocked ceremonies at higher level. Registrations must be carried out in a low-key fashion, at a local level.
Nevertheless, although the Church opposed the new law, gay rights activists have generally concurred that it is a step in the right direction. Still, the question of gay adoption- as of yet illegal - remains a controversial issue.