Hans Punz Archives Agence France-Presse Participants march in a parade in favor of the rights of people from the LGBTQ+ community in Vienna, June 2022.
Austria will rehabilitate thousands of people convicted because of their homosexuality until the 2000s, despite the decriminalization of same-sex relations in 1971, due to discriminatory legal exceptions .
Some 11,000 of them will now be able to receive compensation if they come forward, Justice Minister Alma Zadic announced on Monday at a press conference in Vienna.
Their sentences will be canceled and 3000 euros will be paid to them, with an additional 1500 euros for each year of imprisonment.
Those who were prosecuted without being convicted will also be compensated, especially if they suffered from moral or professional damage.
“It is clear that this financial compensation can never erase the suffering and injustice suffered, but it is crucial that Austria as a state finally recognizes its responsibility,” stressed Ms. Zadic.
The law, which allocates the sum of 33 million euros for these purposes, must be adopted by Parliament by the end of the year, for entry into force in February 2024, said a spokesperson for the ministry to the AFP.
Recognize LGBTQ + rights
Even after decriminalization, 26,500 sentences were handed down until the beginning of the 2000s , mainly towards men.
Gay prostitution was banned until 1989, the right of association remained closed to LGBTQ+ activists until the 1990s, and the age of consent for sexual relations between men was set at 18 (compared to 14 for heterosexual relations) until 2002, well after Austria's entry into the European Union in 1995.
After the dark hours of Nazism in an Austria annexed by Adolf Hitler in 1938, the community LGBTQ + took time to see their rights recognized due to the hostility of the Catholic Church and the conservative ÖVP party, opposed to any development.
Austria has legalized adoption and marriage between people of the same sex in 2019 by decision of the Supreme Court and the subject is now widely agreed upon in public opinion.
The minister, however, called for continuing the fight against hatred and violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people, citing an increasing number of reports.