German court: Grant gay civil unions same tax benefits as married couples

BY NATASHA BARSOTTI — Germany’s top court has ruled that gay couples in civil unions should receive the same tax benefits as heterosexual married couples, The Associated Press (AP) reports.

The Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe said it was a violation of the country’s guarantee of equal rights to treat the two forms of partnership differently for tax purposes, the report says.

Gay-rights advocate and opposition legislator Volker Beck called the ruling a “full-blown victory,” adding that granting gay couples equal rights to adopt is the next challenge.

AP notes that Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Union Party, which has ties with Christian churches, has argued that married couples should enjoy more protections and tax benefits because they usually have children. The court rejected that reasoning, saying that policies favouring families and children “cannot be promoted by discriminating against civil unions,” the report says.

The Merkel government has been criticized for failing to lead on the issue, with the political opposition suggesting that the ruling coalition wants to avoid the prospect of a backlash from its voter base, and instead let the court take the lead.

Natasha Barsotti is originally from Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean. She had high aspirations of representing her country in Olympic Games sprint events, but after a while the firing of the starting gun proved too much for her nerves. So she went off to university instead. Her first professional love has always been journalism. After pursuing a Master of Journalism at UBC , she began freelancing at Xtra West — now Xtra Vancouver — in 2006, becoming a full-time reporter there in 2008.

Keep Reading

Job discrimination against trans and non-binary people is alive and well

OPINION: A study reveals that we have a long way to go to reach workplace equality for trans and non-binary people

The new generation of gay Conservative sellouts

OPINION: Melissa Lantsman’s and Eric Duncan’s refusals to call out their party’s transphobia is a betrayal of the LGBTQ2S+ community

Over 300 anti-LGBTQ2S+ bills have been introduced this year. This doesn’t mean we should panic

OPINION: While it’s important to watch out for threats, not all threats are created equally. Some of these bills will die a natural death

Xtra’s top LGBTQ2S+ stories of the year

The best and brightest—even most bewildering—stories from a back catalogue brimming with insight