Germany has decided to strengthen the rights of gay couples, giving registered partnerships the same tax benefit as married straight couples.
The federal constitutional court ruled gay couples must be treated the same in regards to land transfer tax, and demanded those who did not benefit from the law should be retroactively compensated.
It comes after Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative ruling party, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), is debating whether gay couples should receive tax benefits given only to straight marriages.
This week 13 CDU politicians called for an income tax law that allows married couples to pool their tax rebates and pay less tax overall to apply to same-sex couples as well.
Family Affairs Minister Kristina Schröder from the CDU backed the ruling.
In an interview with CNN, she said: ‘The suggestion comes at exactly the right time.
‘In homosexual partnerships, people take long-term responsibility for each other. They are living conservative values.’
Other CDU politicians are opposed the idea, with aides to Finance Minister Wolfgang SchÃ¤uble quoting him as saying there was ‘no need’ to change the law.
Another political party, the Christian Social Union (CSU, also criticized the move, calling the marriage between men and women ‘special’.
In an interview with ARD Television, CSU spokesperson Gerda Hasselfeldt said: ‘The marriage of man and woman is under special protection because it is fundamentally oriented toward creating new life.
‘This is not the case in homosexual relationships.’
The German government passed a law in 2001 to create registered partnerships that gave gay couples similar rights to married straight couples. Roughly 25,000 gay couples are in a registered partnership.
The Lesbian and Gay Federation in Germany (LSVD)’s spokesman Klaus Jetz told Gay Star News gays and lesbians still face inequalities, especially in regards to adoption.
He said: ‘A lot of gay couples are quite satisfied as the tax law has been declared unconstitutional.
‘If we want to achieve full equal rights, this is one of the last steps.’