• 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
New app helps clients find prostitutes
Photo: DPA

New app helps clients find prostitutes

While the German government is considering tightening prostitution laws, Berlin entrepreneurs have developed a smartphone app to connect sex-workers with clients. READ () »

Highs of 22C forecast for Easter weekend
Photo: DPA

Highs of 22C forecast for Easter weekend

The days running up to Easter may be cool and wet, but the holiday weekend should be a bit warmer for most of Germany, according to forecasters. READ () »

Berlin man must call himself a mother
The fight over the transgender man's right to be his child's official father has been raging since last year. Photo: DPA

Berlin man must call himself a mother

A transgender person who became the first man in Germany to give birth in March 2013 must be registered as the child's mother, a court has ruled after his year-long court battle to be named a father. READ () »

Study: rape convictions fall sharply
Photo: DPA

Study: rape convictions fall sharply

The chance of being convicted of rape in Germany has more than halved in the past two decades to fewer than one in ten, a major study revealed on Thursday. READ () »

SPD: Restore 45-percent investment tax
The tax privilege for investment income is unfair, says the SPD. Photo: DPA

SPD: Restore 45-percent investment tax

The centre-left half of Germany's coalition government has called for the old top rate of a 45-percent tax on investments to be brought back - to match standard income tax and fight the squeeze on middle incomes. READ () »

Customs find smuggled cash in every third car
Sniffing out the money. Photo: DPA

Customs find smuggled cash in every third car

The number of Germans smuggling large amounts of cash across the Swiss border into Germany rose dramatically last year. Customs officers said on Thursday they made a find in almost every third car they checked. READ () »

Crystal meth use hits record level
Crystal meth seized in Bavaria. Photo: DPA

Crystal meth use hits record level

Consumption of crystal meth in Germany appears to have reached a record level, according to government figures published on Thursday. READ () »

Child's near death sparks row over refugee homes
Leonardo had to have a finger and toe amputated after staff refused to call an ambulance. Photo: DPA

Child's near death sparks row over refugee homes

A political row has broken out in Bavaria after an asylum seekers' home failed to help a toddler who almost died of meningitis. The case has raised concerns about the treatment of refugees in the state. READ () »

Bayern and Dortmund to face off for German Cup
Kaiserslautern fans let off flares in the Allianz Arena on Wednesday night. Photo: DPA

Bayern and Dortmund to face off for German Cup

Holders Bayern Munich will face Borussia Dortmund in next month's German Cup final after cruising to a 5-1 win over second-division Kaiserslautern in Wednesday's semi-final. READ () »

Zalando hits back after undercover report
Working conditions at online retailer Zalando are under the spotlight. Photo: DPA

Zalando hits back after undercover report

Online fashion retailer Zalando has prompted an investigation by state prosecutors in Erfurt against an undercover journalist who revealed alleged "trade secrets" in a TV report on Monday night. READ () »

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
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: DPA
Gallery
Nine ways to celebrate Easter like a German
Photo: Galerie Bilderwelt
Gallery
World War I in colour photos
Photo: DPA
Society
'The mafia has infiltrated every sector in Germany'
Photo: DPA
Society
JobTalk: Why you should teach English in Germany
Photo: DPA
National
330,000 sign up against TV licence fee
Photo: DPA
Hamburg
School kids hospitalized after 'porno' party
Photo: Submitted
Frankfurt
'I'll get even with my old pal Schwarzenegger'
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The week in pictures: April 5th - April 11th
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
Advertisement:
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Munich's baby polar bears are finally named
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:ESL
Sponsored Article
How to integrate successfully 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

3,156
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd