Germany's Constitutional Court ruled today that the unequal treatment of heterosexual married couples and couples in gay unions when it comes to inheritance rights is unconstitutional, Expatica reports:
"Germany introduced 'registered partnerships' for same-sex couples in 2001 but stopped short of granting them the full rights and privileges afforded to married couples.
The ruling by the Federal Constitutional Court found that inheritance tax law as it stood between 2001 and 2008, when the legislation was reformed, put gay registered partners at a marked disadvantage.
'While married couples were put in the most advantageous tax group I and regardless of the amount inherited had to pay between seven and 30 percent tax, life partners, as 'other beneficiaries' in tax group III, had to pay between 17 and 50 percent tax,' the court said in a statement.
Married couples also had a far higher tax exempt sum than gay partners."
The Local adds: "A 2008 inheritance tax reform recognised same-sex marriage, giving homosexuals equal rights to personal exemptions for inheriting the assets of their late partner. But registered life partners were still taxed at the highest level as distant relatives or strangers.
But the high court in Karlsruhe said the government’s 2010 annual tax law proposal should now reflect 'total equality' for both same-sex and heterosexual life partners and spouses."
Above, Germany's most high-profile gay couple — foreign minister Guido Westerwelle (right) and his partner Michael Mronz.