Same-sex unions in Austria edge closer to marriage status

Same-sex unions in Austria edge closer to marriage status
A new piece of legislation placed for review on Tuesday’s docket aims to enhance the status of same-sex unions in Austria. If passed, it will change the government venue for commitment ceremonies as well as afford LGBT couples a position similar to heterosexual marriage on the basis of sharing names.
Whereas previously same-sex unions were recognized by the district authorities, they could soon be processed through the registry office just like conventional marriages. 
Introduced by Minister for Families and Youth, Sophie Karmasin and her fellow cabinet members from the Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP), Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka and Justice Minister Wolfgang Brandstetter, it would represent a big step forward for LGBT rights in Austria.
If the movement goes through, same-sex couples will soon be able to formally take one another’s “family names”, instead of just their “last names”. Until now, the term used on documents that officiated these unions was “last name” to protect those who were afraid of “forced outings”, or having their sexuality publicly recognized. 
These potential changes could go into effect as soon as January 2017.