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German coalition divided over equal taxation of gay couples

Equal tax demand for same-sex couples

RobK(Photo: PinkSherbet / EPP)

The German government is under increasing pressure to recognise same-sex marriages through the tax system.  On Wednesday the German constitutional court ruled that gay and lesbian couples are at a disadvantage compared to mixed married couples, particularly in terms of tax benefits. Same-sex marriage has been legal in Germany since 2001.

Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrat Union (CDU) party has called for a change in the fiscal laws, but Chancellor Merkel is refusing to take sides, the Süddeutsche Zeitung reports.

The constitutional court ruling referred to the taxation of land transactions, which are quite common between family members in Germany where home ownership is preferred by many over rented accomodation. Last week the constitutional court also found that same-sex couples were also treated unequally with respect to family allowances for civil servants, judges and soldiers. These financial benefits were only granted to mixed couples, not married gays or lesbians.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble, a Christian Democrat, is rejecting equal fiscal treatment for same-sex couples, but his fellow party member, Family Minister Kristina Schröder is in favour. Chancellor Merkel is on holiday, and her spokesman said she will not become involved until after she is back. In its coalition pact, the governing coalition of CDU and liberal FDP agreed to "eliminate inequalities in the taxation laws" and "to implement rulings of the constitutional court with respect to equal treatment of homosexual and heterosexual married couples". - (IEDE)

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