• Germany edition
 
Coalition split on equal rights for gay couples
Photo: DPA Divide over partnerships

Coalition split on equal rights for gay couples

Published: 26 Aug 2012 16:10 GMT+02:00
Updated: 26 Aug 2012 16:10 GMT+02:00

The government is split over the idea of giving gay couples the right to adopt children and the same tax privileges as married heterosexual couples.

While junior coalition partners the Free Democrats (FDP) are in favour of full equality in both spheres, the issue is far less appealing to many members of Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives.

While the tax issue has supporters and opponents within Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and its Bavarian sister party the Christian Social Union (CSU), the question of adoption rights remains deeply unpopular.

Yet in an interview with the Bavarian newspaper Passauer Neue Presse, the FDP Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger said the government should not wait for the country’s Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe to make a ruling on the subject.

She instead pleaded for the government to introduce a right to adopt for homosexual couples, as well as equality in the tax system for same-sex couples, as for husbands and wives.

"Whoever takes on duties should also receive rights," she said, regarding the existing differences.

"We should not wait for a decision by the Constitutional Court. Karlsruhe has recently, repeatedly made clear that civil partnerships should not be discriminated against through the privilege afforded to marriages between husband and wife."

The Court is expected to rule in the next year on a complaint of discrimination. The German tax system practice of "splitting" means that husbands and wives pay their tax on a joint basis, giving rise to big advantages where there is a big difference between salaries. This arrangement does not apply to gay and lesbian couples.

Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger said a bill now being considered should take care of these matters. "We have had registered same-sex partnerships for 10 years now," she said. "This has legal consequences that that the draft bill put before me should regulate."

CSU general secretary Alexander Dobrindt told the Bild am Sonntag newspaper that extending equal tax rights to same-sex couples was "out of the question" and that the privileges for married couples had a "particular value" to his party.

Gerda Hasselfeldt, the CSU parliamentary leader, said her party would never support adoption rights for gay couples - and accused the FDP of using piecemeal tactics to try to gain concessions.

"They have been bringing piecemeal suggestions again and again about equality of civil partnerships with marriage, something that is neither part of the bedrock or aims of the coalition," said Hasselfeldt.

The current draft bill would mean that the word "spouse" would be replaced by "civil partner" in many existing laws such as on foreclosure and debt laws.

Katherina Reiche, state secretary in the environment ministry for the CDU caused a storm last week when talking about her opposition to extending tax privileges to gay couples. She said Germany’s future lay “in the hands of families, not in same-sex partnerships.”

And she added that in her opinion, what she called “this demographic development” was “next to the euro crisis, the biggest threat to German prosperity.”

Reiche was soon the target for hefty criticism, accusing her of homophobia and narrow-mindedness.

DPA/The Local/rc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Budget flight prices rise with airline expansion
Lufthansa's daughter company Germanwings is one of the faster-growing budget airlines in Germany. Photo: DPA

Budget flight prices rise with airline expansion

Budget airlines are expanding their range of routes from Germany but ticket prices are climbing along with them, a report from the German Aeronautics Centre (DLR) revealed on Thursday. READ () »

Ecclestone lawyers: Bribes never happened
Bernie Ecclestone with his lawyers in a Munich court on Thursday morning. Photo: DPA

Ecclestone lawyers: Bribes never happened

UPDATE: Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone went on trial in Germany on Thursday, denying charges of bribery that threaten to land the British billionaire in jail. READ () »

Minister praises Erasmus 'success story'
Photo: DPA

Minister praises Erasmus 'success story'

A revamped version of European student exchange programme Erasmus officially launched in Berlin on Thursday with Germany's education minister praising the scheme as a Europe-wide “success story”. READ () »

Turkey tourists lose call to prayer refund bid
Photo: DPA

Turkey tourists lose call to prayer refund bid

A German couple has lost their legal fight to get a refund for a Turkish holiday which they said was ruined by the calls to prayer from a nearby mosque. It is just one of a series of court claims by picky German tourists. READ () »

Germany halts arms sales to Russia
Russian troops surround a Ukrainian base in Crimea. Photo: DPA

Germany halts arms sales to Russia

Germany has stopped selling arms to Russia due to the current “political situation”, according to reports on Thursday. The sale of military equipment to Russia by German firms has been criticized by the country’s Nato allies. READ () »

Truck kills man lying in middle of road
Photo: DPA

Truck kills man lying in middle of road

Police were searching for witnesses on Wednesday morning following a mysterious road accident in which a 25-year-old man was killed as he lay in the middle of the road. READ () »

Where are Germany's smartest towns?
Germany's cleverest town. Photo: DPA

Where are Germany's smartest towns?

A brain training website released scores on Wednesday showing which German towns performed best and worst in a range of cognitive tests - with some surprising results. READ () »

April wraps up with stormy week ahead
Lightning over Lake Starnberg, in Bavaria. Photo: DPA

April wraps up with stormy week ahead

The end of April is looking stormy for Germany with hot and cold air mixing and making for wild spring weather over the coming few days, state forecasters DWD said on Wednesday. READ () »

Germany sold €40 million of arms to Russia
Russian troops pictured in March in Crimea. Photo: DPA

Germany sold €40 million of arms to Russia

Germany arms sales to Russia have come under fire following the crisis in Ukraine. In 2012 Germany sold €40 million worth of rifles, pistols and armoured vehicles to the country. READ () »

Munich to get 'Tetris cube' hotel
Photo: Nieto Sobejano Architects, Berlin

Munich to get 'Tetris cube' hotel

Munich's old city centre is to receive an ultra modern addition to its skyline in the shape of a new hotel dubbed 'the Tetris cube'. READ () »

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: DPA
National
Girls find live ammunition in Easter bonfire
Photo: Facebook/screenshot
Berlin
Germany's most viral advert for an apartment?
Gallery
11 things you need to know about German beer
Photo: DPA
Politics
Interview with AfD - 'If Britain goes, Europe is lost'
Photo: DPA
National
Police damage own water cannon with eggs
Photo: DPA
National
Let us start work later after World Cup nights, unions says
Photo: DPA
Society
Crystal meth use hits record level
Photo: DPA
Rhineland
Elderly man taped €200,000 to his genitals
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
What's the unemployment rate in your area of Germany?
Photo: Galerie Bilderwelt
Gallery
World War I in colour photos
Photo: DPA
Society
JobTalk: Why you should teach English in Germany
Photo: DPA
National
330,000 sign up against TV licence fee
Advertisement:
Photo: Submitted
Frankfurt
'I'll get even with my old pal Schwarzenegger'
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Ten great inventions you (probably) didn't know were German
Photo: J. Arthur White
Berlin
Clashes in Berlin as refugees tear down their own camp
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The 10 best German employers to work for
CurrencyFair
Sponsored Article
Why it pays to avoid banks when making overseas transfers
Mr. Lodge
Sponsored Article
How to find a furnished rental in Munich
Sponsored Article
How to make a lasting impression in business
Hult International Business School
Sponsored Article
What they don't teach you at Business School
Photo: DPA
Society
Nine jobs you can only do in Germany
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
Photo: DPA
Features
The Local List Archive - Your guide to all things German
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,077
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd