LGBT rights in Liechtenstein

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Location Liechtenstein Europe.png
Location of LGBT rights in Liechtenstein (green)

in Europe (dark grey)  –  [Legend]

StatusSince 1989, equal age of consent since 2001.
Gender identity
MilitaryNot applicable
(country has no army)
Discrimination protectionsYes, for sexual orientation since 2016
Family rights
Recognition of relationshipsRegistered partnership since 2011
AdoptionAny single person may adopt, no stepchild adoption or joint adoption to 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 since 2016.

Law regarding same-sex sexual activity[edit]

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[edit]

In 2001, the Freie Liste, one of the three political parties in the country, worked on a draft for a same-sex partnership law. The paper was accepted by the Liechtenstein Parliament and given to the Government to give a statement about it. The Penal Code since 2002 includes same-sex domestic partners in the definition of 'next of kin'. The proposed registered partnership bill was rejected by the Parliament in summer 2003. A new proposal by the Freie Liste was adopted by the Liechtenstein Parliament with a majority of 19 votes to 6 on 24 October 2007. The Minister of Justice 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.[1][2] On 16 December 2010, it was approved by the Parliament in the first reading.[3] It was passed its second reading on 16 March and it was published on 21 March 2011. The law was to take effect on 1 September unless a referendum took place.[4][5] A group Vox Populi announced its intention to force a referendum.[6][7] According to the Constitution, the organization had 30 days to collect at least 1,000 signatures.[8] 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.[9]

Since 1 January 2017, registered partners have been allowed to have a common "name" as equivalent to a "family name" for married couples.

Adoption and parenting[edit]

Single people regardless of sexual orientation are allowed to adopt in Liechtenstein. But neither stepchild or joint adoptions by same-sex couples are allowed.

On 1 January 2016, during his annual New Year's Day interview, Prince Hans-Adam II announced his opposition to allowing same-sex couples to adopt children.[10] He said that even if the European Court of Human Rights were to rule in favor of it then Liechtenstein would simply ignore that ruling.

Discrimination protections[edit]

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 Liechtenstein 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.[11][12]

Since 1 April 2016, after a penal code change, discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation has been banned in Liechtenstein, punishable by two years imprisonment. Section 283(1) of the Penal Code states:[13][14]

  • (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) prohibits discrimination in public facilities on the basis of, among other categories, sexual orientation.[13]

Blood donation[edit]

Gay and bisexual men are banned from donating blood.[14]

Living conditions[edit]

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.[15]

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 to the small population, there are no specific gay bars or venues.[16]

Summary table[edit]

Same-sex sexual activity legal Yes (Since 1989)
Equal age of consent (14) Yes (Since 2001)
Anti-discrimination laws in employment No
Anti-discrimination laws in provision of goods and services Yes (Since 2016)
Anti-discrimination laws in other areas (hate crimes & indirect discrimination etc.) Yes (Since 2016)
Same-sex marriage(s) No
Recognition of same-sex couples (e.g. registered partnership) Yes (Since 2011)
Adoption by single LGBT person Yes
Stepchild adoption by same-sex couples No
Joint adoption by same-sex couples No
LGBT people allowed to serve openly in the military Has no military
Right to change legal gender No
Conversion therapy on minors outlawed No
Access to IVF for lesbians No
Commercial surrogacy for gay male couples No (Illegal for all couples regardless of sexual orientation)
MSMs allowed to donate blood No

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Partnerschaftsgesetz verabschiedet
  2. ^ Partnerschaftsgesetz verabschiedet
  3. ^ (in German) Homo-Partnerschaft kommt voran
  4. ^ (in German) Ja zur eingetragenen Partnerschaft
  5. ^ (in German) Landtag einhellig für Partnerschaftsgesetz
  6. ^ (in German) VOX POPULI
  7. ^ (in German) Partnerschaftsgesetz: Doch noch Widerstand
  8. ^ Constitution of the Principality of Liechtenstein
  9. ^ "68,8 % Ja-Stimmen für Partnerschaftsgesetz". Liechtensteiner Volksblatt (in German). 19 June 2011. Retrieved 19 June 2011.
  10. ^ "Le prince s'en prend aux homoparents" (in French). 360°. 8 January 2016.
  11. ^ Country report non-discrimination: Liechtenstein
  12. ^ (in German) Mediengesetz (MedienG) von 19. Oktober 2005
  13. ^ a b (in German) Liechtensteinisches Strafgesetzbuch
  15. ^ Flay
  16. ^ Amman, Richard. "Gay Life in Liechtenstein". Global Gayz.