Germany’s top court has told Angela Merkel same-sex partners in civil unions the right to the same tax benefits as marred heterosexual couples.
Ruling today (6 June), the Federal Constitutional Court said their judgment would apply retroactively to 1 August 2001.
This could mean millions could be making its way to gay couples in civil partnerships who have overpaid in tax.
The FCC said denying gay people in committed relationships tax breaks was a violation of their civil rights and there were no ‘substantial grounds for unequal treatment’, the Associated Foreign Press reports.
They said a failure to move forward with their ruling would go against the equal treatment clause of Germany’s Basic Law and ordered Merkel’s government to pass the legislation.
‘What a joy – another step toward equality,’ Green politician Katrin Goering-Eckardt said. ‘And another embarrassment for the Merkel government.’
All parties in the Bundestag lower house had expressed their support for giving same-sex couples tax breaks with the exception of the Chancellor’s conservative Christian Democratic Union.
Last December, Merkel said she did not support giving gay couples the same tax rights as straights because the constitution ‘sees marriage as directly linked to the family and both are under special protection of the state.’