Gay couples have equal inheritance rights: Top German court

Gay couples in Germany who have formally registered their partnerships must have equal inheritance rights to married couples, the country`s top court said on Tuesday.

Berlin: Gay couples in Germany who have
formally registered their partnerships must have equal
inheritance rights to married couples, the country`s top court
said on Tuesday.

Germany introduced "registered partnerships" for same-sex
couples in 2001 but stopped short of granting them the full
rights and privileges afforded to married couples.
The ruling by the Federal Constitutional Court found that
inheritance tax law as it stood between 2001 and 2008, when
the legislation was reformed, put gay registered partners at a
marked disadvantage.

"While married couples were put in the most advantageous
tax group I and regardless of the amount inherited had to pay
between seven and 30 per cent tax, life partners, as `other
beneficiaries` in tax group III, had to pay between 17 and 50
per cent tax," the court said in a statement.

Married couples also had a far higher tax exempt sum than
gay partners.

New legislation in December 2008 helped close the gap and
the government put forward a draft bill in June offering full
equality with married couples in inheritance taxes, the court
noted.
The court set a deadline of December 31, 2010 for the
parliament to produce new legislation to rectify the
"unconstitutional" disadvantage for gay partners in the years
2001 to 2008.

PTI

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