Austrian Constitutional Court rejects gay case

by Rex Wockner

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Austria's Constitutional Court has rejected a case aimed at including gays and lesbians under laws that protect against incitement to hatred and against discrimination in non-workplace settings.

The court was asked to strike down Criminal Code Article 283, "Incitement to Hatred," and sections of the Federal Equal Treatment Act because they exclude gays and lesbians.

According to the group Rechtskomitee Lambda, Austria's government defended the status quo, arguing that incitement to hatred against gays and lesbians differs from incitement targeting religious or racial groups because the former lacks "dangerous close-range and long-range effects."

The court determined that because homosexuals are purportedly not directly affected by the lack of protection, the application for legal relief was inadmissible, the group said.

Kurt Krickler, secretary general of Homosexual Initiative Vienna, said he wasn't surprised at the outcome because "these are political and not so much legal issues."

He said measures to address the two problems had been introduced in Parliament, where one measure failed and the other may still see a vote.

Rechtskomitee Lambda said it hopes to take the case to the European Court of Human Rights.

"Hatemongers are still allowed to incite to hatred against lesbians and gays, and now even with the consent of the Constitutional Court," said the group's president, Helmut Graupner.

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