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Key facts of the case:
  1. The case originated in an application (no. 30141/04) against the Republic of Austria lodged with the Court under Article 34 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (“the Convention”) by two Austrian nationals, Mr Horst Michael Schalk and Mr Johan Franz Kopf (“the applicants”), on 5 August 2004.
  2. The applicants were represented by Mr K. Mayer, a lawyer practising in Vienna. The Austrian Government (“the Government”) were represented by their Agent, Ambassador H. Tichy, Head of the International Law Department at the Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs.
  3. The applicants alleged in particular, that they were discriminated against as, being a same-sex couple, they were denied the possibility to marry or to have their relationship otherwise recognised by law.
  4. On 8 January 2007 the President of the First Section decided to give notice of the application to the Government. It was also decided to examine the merits of the application at the same time as its admissibility (Article 29 § 3).
  5. The applicants and the Government each filed written observations on the admissibility and merits of the application. The Government also filed further written observations. In addition, third-party comments were received from the United Kingdom Government, who had been given leave by the President to intervene in the written procedure (Article 36 § 2 of the Convention and Rule 44 § 2). A joint third-party comment was received from four non-governmental organisations which had been given leave by the President to intervene, namely FIDH (Fédération Internationale des ligues des Droits de l'Homme), ICJ (International Commission of Jurists) AIRE Centre (Advice on Individual Rights in Europe) and ILGA-Europe (European Region of the International Lesbian and Gay Association). The four non-governmental organisations were also given leave by the President to intervene at the hearing.
  6. A hearing took place in public in the Human Rights Building, Strasbourg, on 25 February 2010 (Rule 59 § 3).
Results (sanctions) and key consequences or implications of the case:
 
The Court
  1. Dismisses unanimously the Government's request to strike the application out of the Court's list;
  2. Declares by six votes to one admissible the applicants' complaint under Article 12 of the Convention;
  3. Declares unanimously admissible the applicants' complaint under Article 14 taken in conjunction with Article 8 of the Convention;
  4. Declares unanimously inadmissible the remainder of the application;
  5. Holds unanimously that there has been no violation of Article 12 of the Convention;
  6. Holds by four votes to three that there has been no violation of Article 14 taken in conjunction with Article 8 of the Convention.