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Since 1 August, 2001, Germanymarker has allowed registered partnerships (Eingetragene Lebenspartnerschaft) for same-sex couples. These partnerships initially provided many but not all of the rights of marriage, and currently provide all except joint adoption and full tax benefits. As of 22 October 2009, the Federal Constitutional Court of Germanymarker has ruled that all the rights and obligations of marriage be extended to same-sex registered partners.

History

The Life Partnership Act of 2001 was a compromise between proponents of marriage equality for gays and conservatives from the Christian parties, whose interpretation of marriage exclude gays. The act grants a number of rights enjoyed by married, opposite-sex couples. It was drafted by Volker Beck from the The Greens and was approved under the Green/Social Democratic coalition government.

On 17 July, 2002, the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany upheld the act. The Court found, unanimously, that the process leading to the law's enactment was constitutional. The 8-member Court further ruled, with three dissenting votes, that the substance of the law conforms to the constitution, and ruled that these partnerships could be granted equal rights to those given to married couples. (The initial law had deliberately withheld certain privileges, such as joint adoption and pension rights for widow(er)s, in an effort to observe the "special protection" which the constitution provided for marriage and the family. The court determined that the "specialness" of the protection was not in the quantity of protection, but in the obligatory nature of this protection, whereas the protection of registered partnerships was at the Bundestagmarker's discretion.)

On 12 October, 2004, the Gesetz zur √úberarbeitung des Lebenspartnerschaftsrechts (Life Partnership Law (Revision) Act) was passed by the Bundestagmarker, increasing the rights of registered life partners to include, among other things, the possibility of stepchild adoption and simpler alimony and divorce rules, but excluding the same tax benefits as in a marriage. By October 2004, 5,000 couples had registered their partnerships. By 2007, this number had increased to 15,000, two thirds of these being male couples.

In July 2008, Federal Constitutional Court of Germanymarker ruled that a transsexual person who transitioned to female after having been married to a woman for more than 50 years could remain married to her wife and change her legal gender to female. It gave the legislature one year to effect the necessary change in the relevant law. (La Presse)

On 22 October 2009, the Constitutional Court ruled that a man whose employer had given him and his registered partner inferior pension benefits on account of his not being married was entitled to the same benefits he would receive were he and his partner married and of opposite sexes.. The court's decision mandated equal rights for same-sex registered couples not just in regard to pension benefits, but in regard to all rights and responsibilities currently applying to married couples.

On 25 October 2009, the Government Programme of the new Christian Democratic-Free Democratic coalition was released. It stipulated that any inequality of rights between (same-sex) life partners and (opposite-sex) married couples would be removed. This would essentially codify into law the Constitutional Court's ruling of 22 October 2009. However, the Government Programme did not mention adoption rights.

Same-sex marriage

Under the current leadership it is difficult to ascertain whether full same-sex marriage will be legalised. The Green Party and the The Left have acknowledged their support of the legalization of same-sex marriage. The Greens, in opposition, released a draft law on same-sex marriage in June 2009.

Public opinion

In December 2006, a poll conducted by the Angus-Reid Global Monitor, seeking public attitudes on economic, political, and social issues for member-states of the European Union found that Germany ranked seventh supporting same-sex marriage with 52% popular support, behind the Netherlandsmarker (82%), Swedenmarker (71%), Denmarkmarker (69%), Belgiummarker (62%), Luxembourgmarker (58%), and Spainmarker (56%) (sharing this position with the Czech Republicmarker); German attitudes on this social issue were above the European Union average of 44%.

See also

Recognition of same-sex partners for purposes of immigration

Non-EU citizens who are same-sex partners of EU-citizens are considered on the same standing as spouses for the purposes of immigration rights.

References



External links




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