German gay marriage laws strengthened
30 April 2004
BERLIN – Germany’s so-called gay marriage laws have been strengthened following a ruling by the nation’s federal labour court this week.
In handing down its judgement, the court said that public employers must pay the same location allowances to homosexuals in registered in a life partnership (officially known an ‘Eingetragenelebensgemeinschaft’) as married.
In their ruling, the judges indicated that they did not see a difference between a registered life partnership and marriage when it came to remuneration in the public service with the court accepting that a ‘Eingetragenelebensgemeinschaft’ also meant family status.
A leading member of the parliamentary Green Party, Volker Beck hailed the judgement as a “big break-through”.
The judgement followed a case brought by a male nurse who claimed the higher location allowances paid to his married colleagues.
Like marriage, the court said, registered gay partnerships are a long-term relationship with their disillusionment requiring a judicial decision.
Introduced in August 2002, the gay marriage law was an attempt by Germany’s Social Democrat-Green Party coalition government to bring gay relationships into line with straight couples.
Conservative lawmakers in parliament have refused to accept provisions of the gay marriage law, so that it falls short of equality with heterosexuals in some major areas, notably taxation.
But it does provide key rights such as relating to hospital visits and taking over apartments in the event of the death of one partner.
The law is also important for gay foreigners who wish to live in Germany. A piece of paper saying you are a part of an ‘Eingetragenelebensgemeinschaft’ can guarantee an unlimited residence permit (unbefristete Aufenthaltserlaubnis) and help with arranging a work permit.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: German news