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".
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.