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German court increases same-sex couple rights to tax equality

Timothy Kincaid

June 6th, 2013

Although Germany has one of the most supportive populaces (in some measures) in Europe, political forces in that nation have resulted in a more incremental approach to equality. Now the Federal Constitutional Court has ordered a further step in that path. (ABC)

Gay rights campaigners won a victory over the German government Thursday as the country’s top court ruled that homosexual couples in civil unions should receive the same tax benefits as heterosexual married couples.

The Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe ruled that treating the two forms of partnership differently for tax purposes violates the country’s guarantee of equal rights.

This decision is to be applied retroactively to 2001 which will, I suppose, give same sex couples the unique opportunity to decide whether to go through the hassle and expense of restating their income for the past decade or just letting it be.

While the government has vowed to pass legislation implementing the change, I think that a wise leader would recognize the futility of battling the increments and just opt for true equality, in name as well as in rights. I’m not expecting Merkel to make that recognition, and her recalcitrance about equal treatment is increasingly being seen as a weakness.

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