Hilary White

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German federal court: give gay civil partners same tax breaks as married couples

Hilary White
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BERLIN, July 9, 2013  (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Federal Constitutional Court has ruled that the country’s same-sex registered partners must be granted the same tax breaks as couples in natural marriages. In their June majority decision, six of the eight justices ruled that treating civil unions differently amounts to “unequal treatment because of sexual orientation” and that failure to guarantee equality “leads to discrimination against a minority”. 

Married couples in Germany can declare their taxable incomes jointly, which results in significantly lower tax payments. The court ordered the government to enact legislation and amend relevant laws retroactive to 2001. 

In Germany, registered partnerships currently provide nearly all the same rights as natural marriage except joint adoption and full tax benefits, but the Federal Constitutional Court is slowly chipping away at the last of these differences. In February 2013, the court allowed one member of a civil partnership to adopt either the natural or adopted child of their partner. Until now the law allowed only the adoption of the partner’s biological child. 

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Homosexualist activists hailed the court’s latest decision, calling it “a full-blown victory.” Opposition member Volker Beck, an outspoken homosexualist activist in parliament, said the next step in the program would be to grant homosexual partnerships the same adoption rights as married couples. 

Angela Merkel’s “centre-right” government has defended the taxation differences between married couples and same-sex partnerships, saying that the former have greater responsibilities because they usually have children to care for. 

To date, thirteen countries, Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, New Zealand, Uruguay, Portugal, Spain, South Africa and Sweden, have created “same-sex marriage” with bills pending in Andorra, the United Kingdom, Finland, Germany, the Republic of Ireland, Luxembourg, Nepal and Taiwan. Other subnational jurisdictions include some US states, parts of Australia and Mexico. 

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