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Conservatives reject tax equality for gay couples
Photo: DPA

Conservatives reject tax equality for gay couples

Published: 05 Dec 2012 08:08 GMT+01:00
Updated: 05 Dec 2012 11:20 GMT+01:00

Chancellor Angela Merkel's ruling conservatives late on Tuesday rejected a motion at their party congress to put German gay couples on the same tax footing as married ones.

Around 20 delegates filed up to the podium at a two-day congress in the northern city of Hannover -- some arguing in favour of a more modern image for Christian Democratic Union (CDU), while opponents defended traditional marriage and the family.

After a thorny debate, delegates roundly supported instead a bid recognizing the "advancement and privilege of marriage" between a man and woman as protected in the constitution.

But after a day devoted mainly to trumpeting the government's successes, not least in shielding Germany from the euro crisis, the topic proved a thorny issue for the CDU rank-and-file.

"I believe it is important for us that we, as the CDU, acknowledge the social realities and also react politically to them," Jan-Marco Luczak, one of those driving the call for change, told delegates.

Shortly before the congress, Merkel said she did not favour the tax reform for gay couples because the constitution "sees marriage directly linked to the family and both are under the special protection of the state". But she also told Sunday's Bild newspaper that she anticipated a "good, respectful" discussion.

A clear majority of the around 1,000 CDU delegates gathered in this northern city until Wednesday supported instead a compromise motion which acknowledged the values of same-sex partnerships but rejected equal tax treatment.

"God created us humans as woman and man, and I think he thought there was something in that," Steffen Flath, the head of the CDU group in Saxony state, told the congress.

The proposal emerged in August when a spokeswoman for Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble said he saw no need for a speedy tax reform and would await

a decision on the issue by the country's top court due next year.

Germany introduced registered partnerships of same-sex couples in 2001 granting them similar rights to those of married couples, apart from in tax matters and adoption.

Married couples who have a big difference in salary, or where one partner does not work, benefit from having their incomes pooled in the calculation of their individual tax bills.

"I'm not taking anything away from a married couple," Luczak said, adding that he was very much in favour of protecting marriage and the family.

But he said homosexual couples also lived according to the values anchored in the CDU's beliefs. "Two people who support each other and want to assist each other in good and bad times. "I find those are deeply conservative values," he said to applause.

Less than a year before Germany holds general elections where Merkel hopes to clinch a third term in power, newsweekly Der Spiegel said the CDU was ticking off its controversial topics.

But it noted the debate on gay tax rights was conducted at the party congress "with such earnestness and tolerance, that delegates spoke of a magic moment."

AFP/mry

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

11:26 December 5, 2012 by grinners
Of course the CDU blocked this one, otherwise they'd have to change their name.

Perhaps to OAAP (Open and Accepting Party)
14:23 December 5, 2012 by Onlythetruth
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
14:31 December 5, 2012 by Clarissa Smith
@grinners: If you read Moses, there's to find some anti-gay nonsense indeed, but you read even worse idiocy there, nobody would take seriously today. Those people at that time were like Taliban.

The New Testament isn't anti-gay at all, Jesus didn't say a thing about that.

No, the CDU wouldn't have to change their name if they passed *Marriage Equality* (which actually is a better term).

This is a signal for all LGBT persons who used to vote for these German teabags. It's like mice voting for cats. LGBT persons not voting at all is like not caring about cats. That way you get yourself into the doghouse.

Merkel is not to trust. Again she's trying not to offend any involved side. It's time to vote her out next year. She already has Kohl's glued-to-chair syndrome.
14:41 December 5, 2012 by IchBinKönig
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
14:52 December 5, 2012 by Onlythetruth
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
15:56 December 5, 2012 by Omufu
In response to Clarissa Smith.

A point of information.

Quite often people say the New Testament and Jesus have nothing to say about gay marriage. That is incorrect. Below are two examples from the New Testament. There is not one instance in the entire bible where homosexuality is mentioned positively. The marriage relationship is based on the very distinct and different complimentary roles that a man and woman have as equal partners in a covenant. This pattern is started at the very beginning of the bible with Adam and Eve, and carries on throughout in the same form until the very end of the New Testament (describing the end of the world as we know it). Then the bible says that Jesus will marry his 'bride' the church, completing the model of masculine and feminine united, which is reflected in earthly marriage (Revelation 19ish). Jesus is often referred to as the bridegroom, and the church as the bride, for example when John the Baptist says...

John 3:28-30

28 You yourselves can testify that I said, ¦#39;I am not the Messiah but am sent ahead of him.¦#39; 29 The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom¦#39;s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. 30 He must become greater; I must become less.¦quot;

Weather the bible, and thus Christianity, are right or wrong is up to you. But it is absolutely clear in the bible that marriage is between a man and a women only, and that families are based on marriage. Trying to make the bible say anything else isn't beneficial to anybody.

Finally, and VERY IMPORTANT, while Christianity does not support homosexuality, the Christian response should always be like that of Jesus - loving and understanding. Jesus was never interested in pointing out how 'wrong' people were, but rather in having mercy, and more than anything uniting them to the Father, ultimately through his death and resurrection. If Christians are pushing people away from God with their hatred and judgment they are not being like Jesus, and therefore something is wrong.

1Timothy 1:9-10

9 We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, 10 for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers

Romans 1:26-27

26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.
16:59 December 5, 2012 by Clarissa Smith
@Omufu: So, because gay marriage is not to find in the New Testament, you have to be against it? It doesn't say anything about electricity either, so this must be sinful as well. There're lots of things you cannot find in the Bible, like cars, radios, computers ect./ect. ....

Folks, if you don't vote, Bible banging fanatics will rule you. These people want to force their Christian beliefs on you, so they vote anyway. You don't wanna be ruled by Bible fundamentalists.

P.S.: Omufu, you're falsifying 1 Timothy 1:9-10. It says "...fornicators, sodomites,..." What kinda Bible are you using, or are you making things up? Romans 1:26-27 says something entirely different: It flat-out accuses God to punish people by making them gay, which actually is very funny. But I don't think it's true. Romans is NOT saying anything against gays. By the way, I was told there're also asexual gays, who just love each other. What's wrong with that? But whatever they do in their privacy, it's NOT of your business, Omufu. Keep you nose out of other people's privacy!
18:32 December 5, 2012 by IchBinKönig
Gay marriage and free Birth Control Pills are OBVIOUSLY the most important issues the world this election season. Nothing else, really.
20:48 December 5, 2012 by Clarissa Smith
Gay marriage isn't important to me personally. But it's an important indicator, not to vote in the behind fundamentalists of the western world. I hate to see religious fundamentalism in politics -- I don't wanna be ruled by any of these fanatics, be it Muslims, be it Christians. And if those CDU guys bring up that typical Christian dogmatic nonsense within politics, this tells me they're not really better than the Republicans in this matter.

Folks who call themselves atheists and think voting would be useless, give in to these Christian fanatics. You folks might kinda empower your own 'Taliban' regime that way. If you don't vote anti-CDU, that is progressive, you give more might to the pope to interfere with your private life.
18:22 December 6, 2012 by Bumps
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
20:48 December 6, 2012 by Clarissa Smith
Of course you expose yourself to Christian dogmas, if you vote in a Christian conservative party like CDU. This article actually proves it. These conservatives force their Christian conservative moral on their fellow Germans -- even on those who are atheists. And that's the point: If the average citizens don't vote, these Bible banging guys force their views on them. And the pope's dogmas are part of it. The fact that a political party brags with that "C" is already impossible. The modern western world is not just Christian. Government has to represent ALL citizens.

Even in the U.S. the majority which is FOR *Marriage Equality* is growing. YOU're the one who lives in your own little bigoted reality, Bumps.
01:52 December 7, 2012 by Bumps
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
06:01 December 7, 2012 by DeutschLiebe
I have so many things to say, but I am really speechless of how this small issues is so important. I mean really!!! Gay marriage is wrong, and that's all to it. We've lived thousands of years on this earth and it has always been wrong and unnatural and I hope it stays that way.
11:10 December 7, 2012 by Clarissa Smith
To bigots it is important, because they're so excited over gay marriage all the time. To me it's not really important, I generally speak for tolerance and civil rights. But it is HERE important, because it's issued in this article. If you dislike it, just stop your gay imagination and read something you like.

For millions of years even some animals have been gay and humans too. It was only not tolerated in the western world, but these days it's obviously changing. Go back to your bigoted bubble and cry yourselves a river!

Physicians who know about this say, people who always rave against gays are gay themselves and get so upset, because they hate being gay.
12:30 December 7, 2012 by LecteurX
I like so much this "unnatural" argument written by someone who used his totally "natural" computer on the thoroughly "natural" internet that operates thanks to absolutely "natural" components and electricity. They then go to their 100% "natural" cars running on "natural" petrol and head for the restaurant where they can tuck into "naturally" processed food or maybe get some "natural" medicines to improve their health. Yes, our lives are so "natural", let's get rid of this "unnatural" homosexuality (an "unnatural" behaviour that is routinely observed in hundred of species in the animal kingdom, birds and mammals alike, all "unnatural") and it will be alright and all natural again.
14:00 December 7, 2012 by Bumps
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
14:38 December 7, 2012 by Clarissa Smith
@LecteurX Yeah, but better not try that in a middle-age town. Arriving there with a car and fooling around with a laptop. The inquisition would accuse us of being super-natural. Very-very much against nature obviously, so you're right! OMG, in their view, we're all making deals with the devil!!

@Bumps What, not illegal? Depends on where you live. Or in what time.... In what time do you live Bumps? Did you grow your hair long in the 60s and 70s? And people screamed like it meant the end of the world? How's that diagnosis? The louder they scream, the more upset they get, the more interesting gets the diagnosis....

Or the fear it might devalue my own marriage, if we allowed same-sex-marriage. How's that diagnosis? Isn't this actually phobic?
16:44 December 7, 2012 by Bumps
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
17:50 December 7, 2012 by Timec
@Bumps - Except gay people, and those who support gay marriage, aren't confused about the difference between men and women. Gay men like other men because they're men, not because they mistakenly believe they're women or can't tell the difference.

"that very confused and unhappy aberration"

You're right, homosexuality is an aberration - it occurs naturally, but only in 2-5% of the population and therefore it is a deviation from the norm (like left-handedness, very high or very low intelligence, hermaphroditism, red hair, etc.)

You're also right that being against gay marriage does not inherently make one a homophobe, though the two often coincide.

However, statements like "that very confused and unhappy aberration" and referring to a gay couple as "two confused people" do reveal you as, well, a bigot.

Let me make this very clear for you, Bumps: Most gay people aren't "confused" - in fact, judging by your words here, they're considerably clearer headed and better thinkers than you. Yes, there are some confused and unhappy gay people, just as there are confused and unhappy members of any group. But their gayness does not make them confused. You only think so because you believe in a false dichotomy - that the only "natural" thing is to be attracted to members of the opposite gender, and anything else is unnatural. You're either straight, or confused. But that belief only reveals your own confusion and muddled "thought" process.

In reality, there are different groups. Most people are sexually attracted to members of the opposite gender. A small percentage are attracted to members of the same gender. It has nothing to do with confusion, and everything to do with the diversity of human life.

As for the unhappy part - well, I know some unhappy gay people. I also know lots of happy ones, many who have been with the same loving partner for many years. That is to say, homosexuals as a whole are no more confused or unhappy than any other group, and the fact that you think otherwise only reveals your own ignorance.

"the overwhelming truth ..."

Not so much, no. The overwhelming truth is that the anti-gay marriage lobby can rant and rave all they want about "making a mockery of marriage" and make ahistorical claims about "traditional marriage," but it won't change the fact that they're fighting a losing battle and that most of their claims fall apart under the slightest scrutiny.

Gay marriage only makes a mockery of your marriage if you let it (and if you let it, that only reveals your own pettiness) - I know many, many married straight couples (some married for more than 50 years) who have absolutely no problem with gay marriage, and who understand the fact that allowing other loving, consenting adults to marry will not detract anything from their marriage.
21:24 December 7, 2012 by Clarissa Smith
Bumps said: "Of course homosexual marriage devalues traditional marriage...."

Marriage equality doesn't devalue a thing. It just relativizes traditional overvaluation, which can get terribly stuffy and selfish. From time to time all traditions have to be redefined, and this is what happens these days. Marriage equality for **all** LGBT persons is coming in the U.S. -- and then Germany will just join, in order not to look backward like the old-fashioned reich again. This will come!

Even the Bible is relativizing family and marriage, like: "It is okay to be married if... but it's better to be NOT." Jesus relativizes family, because he wants ALL fellow humans to be family. My Catholic church is actually WRONG with their marriage and family hype. This is way tooooo much overemphasized! And as progressive Catholic I got to say: Luther was right, marriage cannot be a sacrament, if you consider the Bible's view on it. Not against it -- but not at all speaking for it.

In the secular world, values like family are important but can be very harmful as well, if overemphasized. If people close their private doors and don't give a darn for the world outside their family-bubble, this can destroy a nation. Which actually is a typical Republican pest, while the very open-spirited Obama campaign (happy to have been part of it) was very encouraging. I am speaking for THAT kinda spirit, not for your traditionalized, dusty and stuffy ancient castles. Which WILL topple...

Bumps said: "...confused people of the same gender can do..."

If nature happens to confuse a small minority, you shouldn't start sort of witch-hunt against that minority. I prefer to take on the witch-hunters. Only cowards take on small minorities.
23:05 December 7, 2012 by Englishted
The state should be secular and should therefore have no problem with this issue,what the backward facing religious community thinks is of no importance unless as so often happens they want to impose their mistaken beliefs on society as a whole.
05:26 December 8, 2012 by Bumps
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
13:17 December 8, 2012 by Clarissa Smith
You're talking about "confused about sex", obviously projecting your own confusion on others. As your text is extremely confused, mixing up gays and sharia law ect./ect. ...

You even tend to be fine with being a "which-hunter", and there it gets very-very crazy. And scary. Don't you see as what weird egg you come across? And somehow this discussion really-really gets kinda perverse, and I really don't mean gay sex...

Your last comment makes me analyze you even more, even if you hate this very much. You're an extreme spirit and something is very wrong with you. Basically you sound confused, and that's obviously why you take on that harmless and very small minority.
04:53 December 9, 2012 by Bumps
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
10:50 December 10, 2012 by LecteurX
@ Timec - Thanks for the very eloquent and cogent input. It will unfortunately fall on deaf ears here.

@ Bumps - Please, illuminate us with a few hard facts rather than just emotional and judgmental twaddle. A dozen countries have now legalised same-sex marriage, in a few of them for more than a decade. These include Denmark, Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands, Iceland, Argentina, Spain, Canada, etc. Could you please point out any of those "social consequences" and the "deleterious consequences" that have come to plague said countries as a result of this? In which tangible ways have these nations become "the ultimate losers"? I mean, now that marriage equality is actually there in quite a few places, if it was so wrong, then the "overwhelming truth" should show by now.
23:10 December 10, 2012 by Bumps
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
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