LGBT rights in Liechtenstein
|Status||Since 1989, equal age of consent since 2001.|
(country has no army)
|Discrimination protections||Sexual orientation protections since 2016|
|Recognition of relationships||Registered partnership since 2011|
|Adoption||Any single person may adopt, no stepchild adoption or joint adoption for same-sex couples|
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in Liechtenstein enjoy many, but not all, of the same rights as non-LGBT people. Same-sex sexual activity has been legal since 1989, with an equal age of consent since 2001. Same-sex couples have had access to registered partnerships since 2011, and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation has been outlawed in some areas since 2016.
Law regarding same-sex sexual activity
Same-sex sexual activity was legalized in 1989 by the removal of Sections 129 and 130 of the Criminal Code, though the age of consent was not equalized until 2001. The Penal Code was revised in December 2000 to remove all discrimination against same-sex sexual activity, taking effect in 2001. The age of consent is 14, regardless of gender and sexual orientation.
Recognition of same-sex relationships
In 2001, the Free List, one of the three political parties in the country, began working on a draft for a same-sex partnership law. The paper was accepted by the Landtag and given to the Liechtenstein Government. The proposed registered partnership bill was rejected by the Parliament in summer 2003. A new proposal by the Free List was adopted by the Landtag with a majority of 19 votes to 6 on 24 October 2007. Justice Minister Aurelia Frick presented the draft of the registered partnership bill in April 2010. On 23 November, the government approved the final version of the bill. On 16 December 2010, it was approved by the Landtag in the first reading. It passed its second reading on 16 March and was published on 21 March 2011. A group Vox Populi announced its intention to force a referendum on the matter. According to the Constitution, the organization had 30 days to collect at least 1,000 signatures. A referendum was held on 17 and 19 June 2011 and 68.8% of voters approved the law, which then went into effect on 1 September 2011.
Since 1 January 2017, registered partners have been allowed to have a common "name" as equivalent to a "family name" for married couples.
In 2018, a gay couple filed suit in court, arguing that the same-sex marriage ban is in violation of the European Convention on Human Rights and the Constitution of Liechtenstein. Although a court of first instance initially ruled for the couple, the State Court (StGH) ruled in September 2019 that banning same-sex marriage is not unconstitutional. However, the court concluded that several provisions of the 2011 partnership law were discriminatory, notably its provisions prohibiting civil partners from adopting their stepchildren (so-called stepchild adoption).
Adoption and parenting
Single people regardless of sexual orientation are allowed to adopt in Liechtenstein, but neither stepchild or joint adoptions by same-sex couples are allowed. In September 2019, the State Court ordered the Liechtenstein Government to look into the legalisation of stepchild adoption for civil partners.
On 22 February 2005, following a department reorganisation, the Department of Equal Opportunities (German: Stabsstelle für Chancengleichheit) was assigned to include discrimination on sexual orientation in its area of responsibility.
The Act on Media (German: Mediengesetz), enacted in October 2005, declares that media content will be considered illegal if it incites or supports discrimination based on racial or ethnic origin, gender, religion, age, disability or sexual orientation.
Since 1 April 2016, harassment and incitement to hatred on the basis of sexual orientation has been banned in Liechtenstein, punishable by up to two years' imprisonment. Section 283(1) of the Penal Code states:
- (German): Mit Freiheitsstrafe bis zu zwei Jahren ist zu bestrafen, wer öffentlich gegen eine Person oder eine Gruppe von Personen wegen ihrer Rasse, Sprache, Nationalität, Ethnie, Religion oder Weltanschauung, ihres Geschlechts, ihrer Behinderung, ihres Alters oder ihrer sexuellen Ausrichtung zu Hass oder Diskriminierung aufreizt.
- (English): Any person shall be punished with imprisonment of up to two years who publicly incites hatred or discrimination against another person or any group of persons on the grounds of their race, language, nationality, ethnic origin, religion or ideology, their gender, disability, age or sexual orientation.
Section 283(6) of the Penal Code prohibits discrimination in public facilities on the basis of, among other categories, sexual orientation.
A gay and lesbian organization, Flay, was founded in 1998, and organizes social activities for LGBT people in the triangular area between Liechtenstein, Vorarlberg (Austria) and the Swiss Rhine Valley.
Privacy and individual rights are regarded as fundamental assets of Liechtensteiner society. Open and public discrimination against LGBT people is extremely rare and almost completely unheard of. Despite Liechtenstein's reputation as a conservative Catholic nation, same-sex couples and LGBT people more generally face little social differences compared to heterosexuals and are accepted and tolerated. The country is often compared to "a huge family where everyone knows each other and minds their own business with little interference from others". Due partly to the small population, there are no specific gay bars or venues.
|Same-sex sexual activity legal||(Since 1989)|
|Equal age of consent (14)||(Since 2001)|
|Anti-discrimination laws in employment|
|Anti-discrimination laws in provision of goods and services||(Since 2016)|
|Anti-discrimination laws in other areas (hate crimes & indirect discrimination etc.)||(Since 2016)|
|Recognition of same-sex couples (e.g. registered partnership)||(Since 2011)|
|Adoption by single LGBT person|
|Stepchild adoption by same-sex couples||(Proposed)|
|Joint adoption by same-sex couples|
|LGBT people allowed to serve openly in the military||Has no military|
|Right to change legal gender|
|Conversion therapy on minors outlawed|
|Access to IVF for lesbian couples|
|Commercial surrogacy for gay male couples||(Illegal for all couples regardless of sexual orientation)|
|MSMs allowed to donate blood|
- "Partnerschaftsgesetz von Regierung verabschiedet". Vaterland online.
- "Partnerschaftsgesetz verabschiedet". Archived from the original on 22 July 2011. Retrieved 3 December 2010.
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- Constitution of the Principality of Liechtenstein
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- "Mediengesetz (MedienG) von 19. Oktober 2005".
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- "MENSCHENRECHTSBERICHT 2016 LIECHTENSTEIN" (PDF).
- "flay.li – Der LGBTI Verein Liechtensteins".
- Amman, Richard. "Gay Life in Liechtenstein". Global Gayz.
- "Umfrage: Soll auch in Liechtenstein die Ehe für alle kommen?" (in German). Das Liechtensteiner Vaterland. 30 June 2017.