Austrian women celebrate country’s first same-sex marriage

BERLIN (AP) — Two Austrian women are the first same-sex couple to officially tie the knot in the predominantly Catholic country, following years of legal challenges from gay rights groups.

Public broadcaster ORF reported Tuesday that Nicole Kopaunik and Daniela Paier wed in a ceremony in Velden, southern Austria, shortly after midnight Tuesday.

The couple, both 37, had reportedly been engaged for four years.

Austria’s constitutional court ruled in 2017 that same-sex couples should have the right to marry from Jan. 1, 2019. Previously, same-sex couples could only enter into a registered partnership that granted fewer rights than marriage.

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Austria’s current governing parties, the People’s Party and the Freedom Party, had strongly opposed granting same-sex couples the right to marry, but said they would respect the court’s ruling.

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