By Ryan Collett
Gay and lesbian couples in Germany can now pay the same amount of taxes as married heterosexual couples. The welcomed change comes as a surprising turn of events during Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative administration.
When legal partnerships for gay and lesbian couples were first created in 2001, the law still lacked proper tax equality definition. Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union administration has been against tax equality efforts until members of the party recently called for a re-examination of the law.
Conversations about the tax reform eventually landed the case in Germany’s constitutional court where it was ruled that registered partnerships should be granted the same tax benefits as heterosexual marriages.
The new tax ruling concludes that registered partnerships are given the same land transfer tax exemption as that of heterosexual marriages. Gay and lesbian partnerships will also be allowed the same financial allowances as spouses of military or government personnel.
Gay and lesbian partnerships still lack the right to file taxes jointly — a right enjoyed by married couples where they’re able to access higher income tax thresholds.
The Minister for Family Affairs and member of Merkel’s cabinet, Kristina Schroder, spoke in favor of the new ruling to the German newspaper, Sueddeutsche Zeitung, saying, “In homosexual partnerships, people take long-term responsibility for each other. They are living conservative values.”