Germany_Gay_flag.svgIn a move that may seem surprising given their traditionally conservative background, members of the ruling Christian Democratic Union (CDU) have called for tax inequalities between straight married couples, and gay couples in a registered partnership, to be removed. The call for change follows the German federal constitutional court’s ruling that gay couples in registered partnerships much be treated the same in regards to land transfer tax. They went as far as to make the ruling retrospective, meaning many gay couples could be receiving a tax refund in the near future.

Backbench MPs of the CDU are now calling for further tax benefits, that currently only apply to married straight couples, to be given to gay couples. This was led by Family Affairs Minister, Kristina Schröder, who said: “In lesbian and gay life partnerships, people take on long-term responsibility for each other, and so they live by conservative values.”

Other members of the CDU said: “It is not acceptable that politicians are constantly being asked to abolish the current inequality by the constitutional court.” Also saying: “We want to recognise that life partners with a registered partnership have set up a framework for a long-term relationship based on mutual trust and affection.”

Germany first allowed registered partnership for same-sex couples in 2001, as a compromise between the equal marriage lobbyists and those who felt that marriage could only ever be between a man and a woman.

These partnerships initially provided many but not all of the rights of marriage, and currently provide all except joint adoption and full tax benefits.

Not all members of the government are as convinced about the requirement to address the inequalities between same-sex and heterosexual couples. Gerda Hasselfeldt, , from the CDU’s sister party, the Christian Social Union said: “The marriage of man and woman is under special protection because it is fundamentally oriented toward creating new life. This is not the case in homosexual relationships,”

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