• Germany's news in English

Minister demands tax break for gay couples

The Local · 12 Aug 2012, 17:19

Published: 12 Aug 2012 17:19 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

In a letter to her government colleague seen by AFP she called on him to abandon his insistance on waiting for a decision on the issue by Germany's top court.

Both Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger and Economy Minister and Vice-Chancellor

Philipp Rösler are in favour of changes to the law to allow registered partnerships of same-sex couples, introduced in Germany in 2001, the same tax benefits as married heterosexual ones.

Both ministers are members of the pro-business Free Democrats, a junior partner in Chancellor Angela Merkel's fractious centre-right coalition.

On Wednesday Schäuble, a Christian Democrat like Merkel, directly contradicted his colleagues in cabinet, with his spokeswoman noting that marriage enjoyed special protection under Germany's Basic Law.

She said Schäuble, unlike other members of the government, currently saw no need for a speedy tax reform and would await the court decision due by next year.

Deputy government spokesman Georg Streiter also highlighted to reporters the need to wait for the Federal Constitutional Court's ruling "in order to then get it right."

On Tuesday, Family Minister Kristina Schröder had welcomed in a German newspaper a push for a swift revision to the law by 13 deputies from Merkel's conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU), sparking a debate in Berlin.

Couples in lesbian and gay partnerships assumed a long-term responsibility and thus lived according to "conservative values", she told the centre-left Süddeutsche Zeitung paper.

Both Schröder and Schäuble are part of Merkel's CDU, whose Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union, also a coalition partner, strongly opposes the move.

According to estimates, state coffers would reap about €30 million less if formally registered gay couples could also enjoy certain tax benefits applied to married ones.

Story continues below…

According to an opinion poll to be published Monday in the weekly Focus, 80

percent of Germans back the move, with only 17 percent against.

Some 23,000 same-sex partnerships are currently registered in Germany, according to federal figures cited by the Süddeutsche Zeitung.


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

12:38 August 12, 2012 by charlenej
THIS is the picture you use??? I need to stop reading the yellow press Local.
12:52 August 12, 2012 by GolfAlphaYankee
@charlenj : LOL that was exactly my initial reaction !

" 80 percent of Germans back the move " : that's good, it goes to show that on social issues the public is in most cases way ahead of politicians.
13:18 August 12, 2012 by MattyB
What's wrong with the picture? Stand up and be proud! They're just an average, normal, couple, aren't they?
13:49 August 12, 2012 by AClassicRed
I also have an issue with the photo used, because it seems the strong majority of the time when any article is posted about gays, TheLocal.de makes a point to use the most extreme image possible basically make gays into caricatures or stereotypes.

With this photo in particular, it is obvious these two men, who might be partners or might not, were at a festival, parade or event of some sort, not just in daily, normal life going about their work, leisure time or business.

I really, really think this is in very poor taste by the website, and definitely detracts from and puts a "mocking face" on the seriousness of the article.
14:08 August 12, 2012 by whiteriver
why do married people have a lower tax than single people? If the answer is to have children, I don't think the same rule fits for gay couples...
14:56 August 12, 2012 by GolfAlphaYankee
@whiteriver : if that was true, childless, married people (by choice or for medical reasons) would /should loose their tax break right?

we gives special treatment to couples because they are essentially making commitments to support and help each other (financially and otherwise) in a way that other structures in society does not provide....

@MattyB: that's remind me to go put some make-up on !
19:33 August 12, 2012 by Berlin fuer alles
Why have tax breaks for couples then? Is this not discriminating against singles who have a higher cost of living due to paying rent themselves and not availing of bulk shopping etc.
19:39 August 12, 2012 by yourkeau
It seems, theLocal editors have never seen a gay couple in their life. They do look like normal people, because they ARE normal people. Change the photo, please.
22:24 August 12, 2012 by whiteriver
@GolfAlphaYankee: I agree with @Berlin fuer alles, it discriminates the singles. And I feel that the real reason is to push the low income people to marry and married people get less often in trouble (even the insurance companies agree).
09:30 August 13, 2012 by Lolli
Married folks, whether or not they have (or will ever have) children, get a tax break.

I have a super idea to create equality. All couples, whether they are in a civil union, marriage or not, should be treated as lesbians and gays currently are (i.e. no tax break) and the amount of money the state would receive could be put to stabilising the Euro crisis and providing much better social services. Imagine how much this would be - if only 23,000 civil-union couples = 30 million euros, the married folks would free up billions. Mind you, the government will probably just give it all to their cronies in the banks anyway, or to support big corportions by providing workers with housing allowances, etc, as the workers are so lowly paid ...

Oh, and reading '...homosexuals as to normal folks..' is insulting. Common (as in heterosexuality) does not necessarily mean normal.
10:54 August 13, 2012 by raandy
There should not be two standards, one for same sex unions and one for non same sex unions.

The advantage of combining incomes and deductions for the tax break should be free of any dealings with the church and strictly a State matter.

Any legal union between two people sanctified by the State should be treated the same ,regardless of any religious dogma.
11:23 August 13, 2012 by michael4096
Surely the reason why a couple living together pay less tax than two individuals seperately is because they cost the state less. Why resort to wierd social engineering reasoning?

There are times when family members such as siblings also choose to live together long-term. They should also pay less tax.
12:12 August 13, 2012 by UncleVanya
Well I wouldn't call fostering normal and healthy heterosexual relationships "weird social engineering". In an era of social stress when families split up with increasing frequency and men take less responsibility for their offspring they engender society has a real interest in creating inducements for men and women to stay together. In my view legalizing "gay" marriage is a step in the opposite direction as it broadens and cheapens the idea of marriage. As a man I would be less inclined to marry if the the state declared the ideal also included homosexual relationships.
16:09 August 13, 2012 by daftchook
I am sorry, but I fail to see why heterosexual couples who just live together and are not married cannot have this tax benefit too then. How does being married cost the state less? If we are going to make the world equal for everyone then it has to be really equal for EVERYONE! In that case, I think it would be a better idea to scrap tax benefits for people who are married and give it instead to people with children, whether married or not, gay or not. Marriage is an outmoded status with dubious advantages for society but reproduction is much desired by this government. In short the mere state of being married or being in a partnership does not directly benefit our society, whereas having/raising children DOES. In most cases, having a two income, no kids home plus added tax benefits is a winner whereas, a one income (or 1 and a half income) partnership with a few kids is definitely not. This brings me to another recent law making the rights of umarried fathers the same as those of married fathers BUT there was no talk of making the rights of unmarried mothers the same as those of married ones (i,e. the right to a share of his pension, maintenance payments) because she makes the same sacrifices careerwise as a married woman does. There are an awful lot of unfair advantages to the state of being unmarried, not just for gay people!
10:03 August 14, 2012 by LecteurX
@ UncleVanya.

That's an interesting point of view you have, to say the least. Look around you: homosexuals have the right to live. Does that cheapen life as well in your eyes? Are you, erm, "less inclined" to live and pursue happiness and fulfilment just because homosexuals are also included in that ideal?

Just a thought.
10:33 August 14, 2012 by M Australian
Putting all the bigotry and illogic aside,

The main case in point is that in Germany ALL couples who are in a legally registered partnership (marriage or civil partnership regardless of gender) take on a legal responsibility (pficht) for the other person thus relieving the authorities thereof. This pflicht includes but is not limited to living & housing costs; medical & aged care; even financial and legal liabilty in some instances and so on.

This added pficht may be offset by two persons being able to lodge a joint tax return. This only benefits couples who have a significant disparity in income and can currently only be lodged by heterosexual couples with certainty. Same sex couples can also do this in some States at the discretion of the Finanzamt or by order of the State Courts. However they risk having to pay back-taxes if the Ferderal ruling is not in their favour.

It boils down to rights and responsibilities really.
10:53 August 14, 2012 by UncleVanya
@ LecteurX

Of course homosexuals have the right to live and enjoy life but like my children or my pets they shouldn't have the right to marry. Why should men and women who attempt such a serious undertaking as matrimony have to share that ideal with people so confused about sex? I think the concept of a civil union with many of the same rights is a much more respectful solution by people of the same sex who can't manage a normal marital relationship.
11:33 August 14, 2012 by LecteurX
OK UncleVanya, thanks for sharing your thoughts. I don't get it why your own matrimony is "cheapened" or somehow demeaned by other people's marriage. I don't get it why you "share" anything of other people's marriages. Homosexuals are not children or pets, last time I checked. The Mayor of Berlin is homosexual, the Mayor of Paris too for that matter, the Prime Minister of Iceland, and quite a few prominent persons.

Mentally ill people have a right to marry. Zsa Zsa Gábor married 9 times, Liz Taylor 8 times, and Britney Spears was "married" for the whole of 55 hours after a drunken wedding in Las Vegas... Does that affect you personally or your marriage anyhow? Ah but of course, all of these "serious undertakings" were totally fine since the "ideal" in question had involved one man and one woman each time. Duh.

It didn't take much scratching to reveal the bigot. So I'm afraid this conversation isn't going anywhere. I'll keep the rest of my thoughts about you to myself and will simply wish you a good day.
12:26 August 14, 2012 by UncleVanya
@ LecteurX

I think you've got it. Marriage should require at the very least a man and a woman at the age of consent. In my opinion anything else is a joke despite the prominent position of the politicians (or anyone else) you name. People who try to frame this issue as a matter of civil rights are just as confused as the homosexuals who "marry" . I am not allowed to marry my daughter and my civil rights are not abridged because of it. Lets keep marriage as an ideal a heterosexual couple can aspire to without homosexuals or pederasts or polygamists trying to climb on board. Men and women who make a public commitment to each other deserve it and society should reserve it for them.
15:54 August 15, 2012 by M Australian
I'm not ceratin by which decree or twist of logic UncleVanya claims exclusivity to marriage and who in their right mind would even think of "I'm not allowed to marry my daughter and my civil rights are not abridged because of it."

It's nice to see there are voices of reason and humanity such as LecteurX.
01:08 August 16, 2012 by UncleVanya
@ M Australian

"who in their right mind would even think of "I'm not allowed to marry my daughter and my civil rights are not abridged because of it."

OK then, who in their right mind would even think of making a mockery of marriage by encouraging two grown men to marry each other. Silly on its face. Men aren't made for each other, men and women are made for each other.
22:26 August 16, 2012 by M Australian
"who in their right mind would even think of "I'm not allowed to marry my daughter and my civil rights are not abridged because of it."

Typical of narrow minded persons to ignore facts(i.e your own quote) and jump to bigotry from any obtuse angle without actually adressing "I'm not certain by which decree or twist of logic UncleVanya claims exclusivity to marriage ...." (#20).

It might enligten you to look up Websters / Oxford dictionaries or wikipedia for the definition of marriage or simply escape the narrow confines of your own mind to see the real world. BTW to bring you up to date Galileo Galilei was right about heliocentrism and now its a fact the earth is not flat but I digress.
Today's headlines
Creepy clown scare spreads to Germany
Two of the clowns were apparently equipped with chainsaws. Photo: Pedro Pardo / AFP file picture

Police said Friday five incidents involving so-called scary clowns had occurred in two north German towns, including one assailant who hit a man with a baseball bat, amid fears that Halloween could spark a rash of similar attacks.

Student fined for spying on women via their webcams
Photo: DPA

Student from Munich fined €1,000 for spying on 32 different computers, using their webcams to take photographs, or record their keyboard history.

This is how much startup geeks earn in Germany
Photo: DPA

A comprehensive new survey of 143 startup founders shows how much you are likely to be earning at a German startup, from entry level all the way up to sitting on the board.

Man dies after beating for peeing near Freiburg church
The Johannes Church in Freiburg. Photo Jörgens Mi/Wikipedia

A middle-aged man from southern Germany has died after being attacked by a group of men who took umbrage with the fact he was urinating in the vicinity of a church.

The Local List
Seven German celebrities with uncanny doppelgängers
Former Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit and actor Alec Baldwin. Photo: DPA; Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons

Check out these seven look-a-likes of well known German figures - we admit that some are more tenuous than others...

Israel seeks to buy three new German submarines: report
A Dolphin class submarine. Photo: DPA

Israel is seeking to buy three more advanced submarines from Germany at a combined price of €1.2 billion, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday.

Here’s where people live the longest in Germany
Photo: DPA

Germans down south seem to know the secret to a long life.

More Germans identify as LGBT than in rest of Europe
Photo: DPA

The percentage of the German population which identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is higher than anywhere else in Europe, according to a new study.

'Reichsbürger' pair attack police in Saxony-Anhalt
File photo: DPA.

A "Reichsbürger" and his wife attacked police officers on Thursday, just a day after another Reichsbürger fatally shot an officer in Bavaria.

Five things not to miss at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Photo: DPA

From consulting a book doctor to immersing yourself in an author's world with the help of virtual reality, here are five things not to miss at this week's Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's largest publishing event.

10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd