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Landlord must pay fine after refusing to rent to gay couple

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Landlord must pay fine after refusing to rent to gay couple
Photo: DPA.
08:05 CEST+02:00
Germany may not grant equal marriage rights to same-sex couples, but its laws do protect them against discrimination.

A man has been slapped with a steep fine by a Cologne court after he refused to rent a villa to a same-sex couple.

The landlord must pay €1,700 in compensation to the couple, a regional court said on Tuesday.

The man regularly rented out his personal villa to newly-weds to earn a bit more cash, but when he learned that the couple in question were gay, he refused to sign a contract with them.

The court charged the man with discrimination, stating that his refusal to rent to them was illegal and violated German law concerning equal treatment, calling it "discrimination based on sexual orientation".

The court could not find a substantive reason to justify the discrimination, according to Legal Tribune Online
 
Nor did the judge side with the defendant's argument that renting to the couple would conflict with his "sense of morality and decency," saying that there was no reason, even if he was also using the villa, that he should be more offended by a gay couple than by a straight one.

While Germany is ranked fairly low among its western European counterparts for gay rights, according to EU-funded Rainbow Europe research, German law does protect individuals from discrimination due to their sexual orientation in the workplace and in access to goods and services.

Same-sex marriage is not legal in Germany, though civil partnerships are, and gay couples are not granted equal rights, for example on adoption.

See Also: Five ways Germany falls short on gay rights

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