Homosexuals to get equal inheritance rights in GermanyAugust 18th, 2010 - 7:17 am ICT by IANS
Karlsruhe (Germany), Aug 18 (DPA) Homosexuals in civil partnerships can look forward to the same inheritance rights in Germany as heterosexual spouses, following a constitutional court decision published Tuesday.
The court announced that inheritance tax rules stigmatising gay and lesbian life partners contravened the principle of equality enshrined in German law.
The ruling was seen as a significant step towards equal recognition for gay and lesbian civil partnerships, and prompted demands for the abolition of income tax disadvantages experienced by homosexual couples.
The judges in the Karlsruhe-based court said that, although the state protected the institutions of marriage and family, this did not justify tax advantages for heterosexual spouses.
The court ruled that homosexual partners who had entered a civil union lived “in a long-term, legally consolidated partnership, like spouses”. This included the expectation of being able to maintain their joint living standard if one partner died.
The constitutional court ruling came in response to two cases brought by a 70-year-old man and a 46-year-old woman whose respective partners had died shortly after they entered civil unions.
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