Gay partnership law leads to 700 ‘registrations’

More than 700 same sex couples decided to follow the government coalition’s offer of having their partnership “registered” last year.Federal statistic agency Statistik Austria said today (Mon) that 705 gay couples took the opportunity to gain legal status for their relationships last year when a new law passed by the Social Democrats (SPÖ) and the People’s Party (ÖVP) went into effect.Around 64 per cent of the couples were male, the authority said. The agency also said that, with 49.5 per cent, nearly half of all gay and lesbian couples who opted for the “registration” were residents of Vienna.The small provinces of Burgenland and Vorarlberg recorded the lowest number at 12 couples each. There was also little interest in Carinthia (17) and Salzburg (32).The SPÖ-ÖVP coalition said the law was a step ahead in reducing the barriers that confront homosexuals everyday. Some activists however accused the government of trying to whitewash its reputation on the issue in light of the “slow progress”.