Germany’s Top Court Grants Tax Equality To Same-Sex Couples


The Federal constitutional Court in Karlsruhe ruled today that treating civil unions and marriages differently for tax purposes is "unequal treatment because of sexual orientation," and thus violates the country's guarantee of equal rights for its citizens. The court saw right to the heart of the matter:

The court acknowledged that married couples enjoy special privileges because the partners also accept a strong responsibility for each other, including financial, but it argued that the civil union implies the same duties and responsibilities for gay partners.

As a result the court has ordered that the laws be amended retroactively back to 2001 when the civil union status was first introduced, and in turn the government has vowed to pass legislation by this fall to implement the court's decision. 

German citizens largely do not regard gay couples as a controversial issue which stands in stark contrast to the citizens of France, who have repsonded to the issue of gay marriage with protests, marches, and extreme instances of violence.

(via the AP)


  1. Francis #1 says

    So happy for German gays, it’s said now that their civil partnerships law is essentially 100% equal in standing to marriage. Very important ruling and especially how the ruling was made, the reasons why. No pretense, just clear as day–anti-gay discrimination is discrimination and unconstitutional.

    Sad, though, is that here in the States all indications are SCOTUS will not issue a ruling of that nature whatsoever. Falling further and further behind even as we try to catch up.

  2. simon says

    It is not 100%. It may be financially. But a gay couple can’t adopt in Germany for “protecting” children. Hope the court will right that wrong too.

  3. Patric says

    “German citizens largely do not regard gay couples as a controversial issue which stands in stark contrast to the citizens of France, who have repsonded to the issue of gay marriage with protests, marches, and extreme instances of violence.” I’d call that a simplistic generalization. In fact, I think that substantial majorities in both countries are supportive of gay rights, while loud minorities in each country (Germany’s opposition being strongest in Bavaria) are opposed. Pew’s survey of the other day on attitudes toward homosexuality did not reveal dramatic differences between the Germans and the French, even if the size of the opposition in France is somewhat larger than in Germany. The more significant difference between the two countries is that France’s haters have recently had a reason to spew their hate – the passage of a marriage equality law – while Germany’s haters have received no comparable provocation as yet.

  4. Jols says

    @ Patric: Absolutely.

    It’s ridiculous to say that German citizens oppose marriage equality less than French citizens.

    In both countries, the majority doesn’t care. The real difference is that France passed a law for it (who the people voted for!!) while Germany has very little legal recognition for gay couples (this civil union doesn’t allow adoption, and used to have very little tax benefits) and a sizeable conservative base.

  5. Pat says

    @ Patric & Jols
    We will see what happens when Germany finally gets marriage equality (come on Angela, you are shoo in for reelection, but you can’t be that backward, can you?)
    That said, it is true that the case of France has been very special compared to what has happened in other countries. Other countries such as Spain, Argentina and a dozen others with marriage equality never displayed the level of hysteria seen in France.

  6. simon says

    It is part of French political culture. British or Germans may find the en mass movements shocking or amusing. Oscar Wilde even joked about the “excess of the French Revolution”. Not that they don’t chop poeple’s heads off, it was done in a much calmer manner.

  7. Give me a break says

    Why is everyone praising Germany? They are waaaay behind compared to other European countries in terms of gay rights. Gays can’t marry, gay couples cannot adopt, and surrogacy is illegal. And the fact that they are just now getting tax equality in 2013 shows how behind the times they are.

    Say what you want about France, but their government got things done.

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