Gay spouses can get partner's pension benefits

24th June 2005, Comments 0 comments

24 June 2005, BERLIN - In a far-reaching decision, a court in Berlin ruled on Friday that Germany's gay marriage law entitles a same-sex spouse to receive the pension benefits of a deceased partner. At issue in the ruling by Berlin Administrative Court was the definition of the word 'spouse' in pension benefit plans. A retirement fund operated by the Berlin Medical Association rejected a 45-year-old general practitioner's application to have his male partner listed as his 'spouse' in the benefits plan. The

24 June 2005

BERLIN - In a far-reaching decision, a court in Berlin ruled on Friday that Germany's gay marriage law entitles a same-sex spouse to receive the pension benefits of a deceased partner.

At issue in the ruling by Berlin Administrative Court was the definition of the word 'spouse' in pension benefit plans.

A retirement fund operated by the Berlin Medical Association rejected a 45-year-old general practitioner's application to have his male partner listed as his 'spouse' in the benefits plan. The fund's lawyers argued that only a legally married spouse could continue to receive retirement benefits after the insured member's death.

The Berlin court, in ruling in favour of the gay doctor, said the intent of Germany's 2002 gay partnership law was to entitle gay couples precisely to just such benefits.

Hitherto, legal experts have interpreted the gay partnership law as stopping short of granting sweeping equality with legally married couples on such issues as tax breaks, inheritance rights and insurance coverage.

More than 6,000 gay unions have been registered nationwide since the law went into effect in 2002.

DPA

Subject: German news

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