Germany’s High Court: Same-Sex Couples Deserve Equal Tax Benefits

Germany has recognized registered same-sex couples since 2001, and now the country’s highest court has ruled that those couples deserve equal tax benefits, including backpay for what they’ve overpaid in the past. In accordance with past rulings, the Federal Constitutional Court ruled Thursday that the country’s guarantee of equal rights demands that all couples be treated the same for tax purposes.

According to the Court, there are no “substantial grounds for unequal treatment” and failing to provide the same benefits because of sexual orientation “leads to discrimination against a minority.” Regardless of whether couples raise children, the Court argued, they all commit the same responsibility to their partners and deserve the same benefits from the government. Though Germany does not currently allow same-sex couples the right to jointly adopt a child, step-parent and “successive” adoptions are allowed in some circumstances.