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Germany: Anti-Marriage Equality Chancellor Keeps Her Job

Monday, September 23rd, 2013

UPDATE: Yep, she was re-elected.

German Chancellor Angela MerkelGerman Chancellor Angela Merkel will likely stay in power after elections on Sunday.

On Top Magazine reports:

“In the run-up to tomorrow we have defended our record,” Merkel said in a last-minute plea for votes. “And we have said what we want to do over the next four years. And we are asking the people to express their confidence in us. And that means casting both votes for the Christian Democratic Union. It is also clear that Germany can only do well in the long-term if all of Europe does well. This is why the stabilization of the Euro is not just a good thing for Europe, but it is also in Germany’s fundamental interest.”

One day, Germany will follow the rest of Western Europe and support full marriage equality.

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Germany: Third Gender Option Offered on Birth Certificates

Sunday, August 18th, 2013

Germany - google maps

from Google Maps

The German Government will allow parents to leave the gender of their child blank on the birth certificate. Pink News reports:

From November this year, Germany will become the first country in Europe to introduce a third option for assigning gender on birth certificates, giving parents the choice to leave the child’s gender indeterminate. Der Spiegel reports that, from 1 November, birth certificates in Germany will have the option of selecting “blank”, as well as “male” or “female”. Parents who use the “blank” option will allow for their offspring, such as those born with characteristics of both genders, to decide on their gender identity in later life, or to opt out of the gender binary altogether.

It’s a welcome step forward for children born with unclear genders, allowing time for the child to determine his or her gender. It also makes you wonder if people, especially in these situations, should even have to choose one or the other?

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Germany: Evangelical Church Hosts First Gay Wedding

Monday, August 12th, 2013

GermanyIn a first for Germany, a gay couple was married in an evangelical church, though the marriage will not be recognized by the German government. Gay Star News reports:

The German Evangelical Protestant Church held its first same-sex wedding over the weekend according to reports in local media. The couple, Ruediger and Christoph Zimmermann, tied the knot in Seligenstadt near Frankfurt, Hessian state public radio reported. Germany does not yet recognize same-sex marriage so the ceremony will not change their legal status but the couple were already in a civil union.

Small steps which will lead to greater things in time.

Authored By Andrew Potts – See the Full Story at Gay Star News

Germany: Bill to Give Gay, Lesbian Couples Equal Tax Breaks Goes to Parliament

Saturday, June 15th, 2013

GermanyIn the wake of a court ruling a week and a half ago saying gay and lesbian couples were entitled to the same tax breaks married straight couples receive, there’s a bill to do so moving through the government. Pink News reports:

The German cabinet has adopted a bill granting same-sex couples in civil partnerships the same income tax benefit as married opposite-sex couples, which will now be considered by parliament. Married couples in Germany are allowed to use a “spousal splitting” tax break in which they pool their incomes and divide their earnings to calculate individual income tax. If the bill passes through parliament same-sex couples in civil partnerships would be able to use the same spousal splitting to pay less income tax, applying retroactively from 2001, when Germany introduced civil partnerships.

Nice that it would be retroactive. Will Germany ever consider full marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples? That would seem to be the easiest fix.

Germany: Court Says Gay and Lesbian Couples Deserve Marriage Tax Breaks

Thursday, June 6th, 2013

Germany - google maps

from Google Maps

The top court in Germany has ruled that the government must give the same tax breaks to same sex couples that it gives to straight ones. ABC reports:

The Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe ruled that treating the two forms of partnership differently for tax purposes violates the country’s guarantee of equal rights. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s center-right government had long resisted granting the same tax benefits to gay couples in civil unions. Those unions — officially certified by a notary and carrying similar rights and duties to wedlock — are widely accepted by Germany’s gay community as equivalent to marriage. Married couples in Germany are able to jointly declare their taxable incomes, which can significantly lower their overall tax burden especially when one partner has higher pay. The rule costs the government annually about 15.5 billion euros ($20 billion).

While it’s not marriage, it’s a significant advance that will have a positive financial effect for many same sex couples in Germany.

Germany: Russian President Greeted By Topless Protesters

Monday, April 8th, 2013

Angry over a Russian bill to ban so-called “gay propaganda”, German activists greeted Russian Prime Minister Vladamir Putin topless. The Huffington Post reports:

Vladimir Putin faced hundreds of protesters ranging from gay rights activists to a topless feminist group during his visit to Germany and the Netherlands on Monday, but the Russian president appeared unruffled by the furor. In Hannover, Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel criticized Russia’s human rights record at a press conference. Then activists from Ukraine’s Femen group bared their torsos and ran at him shouting “Putin dictator!” before they were detained.

Germany: Chancellor Merkel Once Again Won’t Act on Tax Fairness for Same Sex Couples

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

Germany Marriage EqualityNo big surprise here – back in December, Chancellor Merkel said no to an expansion of tax rights for same sex couples. The Advocate reports:

German chancellor Angela Merkel is not endorsing an expansion of gay rights, even though members of her Christian Democratic party are. Merkel is under pressure to take a stand after German’s high court ruled that gays should be allowed to adopt their partner’s adopted children; previously they could only adopt their partner’s biological children. There was momentum among some in Merkel’s party to introduce new laws that would equalize tax laws for same-sex couples — some believed Merkel and her peers were hoping to broaden the party’s base among more liberal voters — but social conservatives among the Christian Democrats cried foul. At a party meeting on Monday, the CDs confirmed they would stick with the status quo when it came to LGBT rights.

More and more, Germany seems to be a stumbling block for both gay rights and economic prosperity in Europe.

Germany, California Considering Tax Fairness for Same Sex Couples

Saturday, March 2nd, 2013

Taxes and LGBT CouplesThere’s movement both in Germany and across the pond in California to bring more fairness to the tax system for same sex couples, Dot429 reports:

Germany’s conservative government has become the latest administration to consider tax reform that would grant same-sex couples the same tax perks as heterosexual couples. This marks a dramatic policy shift for the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) Party following their December congress where a proposal of tax equality was rejected. This apparent shift in policy from Chancellor Angela Merkel demonstrates the growing momentum around Europe for equalizing tax laws. The move from Merkel is an indication that this issue is gaining broad support and would extend the CDU’s appeal ahead of Germany’s September election.

California’s Assembly Bill 362 aims to bring fairness to a situation whereby health benefits received by one same-sex partner from the other are taxed by the federal government as income. Then, when companies reimburse this tax to employees, the state taxes this reimbursement. The legislation, if passed, would provide a state tax exemption and would cover persons in a same-sex relationship who work for public entities or for private sector companies who opt in.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in California.

Gay Adoption News From Germany, Puerto Rico and Austria

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

BabyLots happening on the gay adoption front around the world today. In Germany, the constitutional court expanded adoption rights for gay and lesbian couples, while the Chancellor does nothing to forward LGBT rights. Queerty reports:

On Tuesday, Germany’s constitutional court ruled that gay individuals in a civil partnership may adopt children already adopted by their partners. The court determined that the current ban on “successive adoptions” violated gays and lesbians’ right to equal treatment under the law. (Biological children can already be adopted by same-sex spouses.) Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union government has until July 2014 to revise current adoption laws.

In Puerto Rico, Joe.My.God is reporting that the Territorial Court will uphold a ban in gay adoptions there:

Andres Duque provides a translation at Blabbeando: Puerto Rico’s El Vocero is reporting that the island’s Supreme Tribunal will be backing an adoption ban for same-sex couples in a 5-4 decision to be announced later today. El Vocero says that the ruling comes after a Puerto Rican woman sought to adopt her lesbian partner’s daughter. A current law “bans the adoption of a minor if the biological mother doesn’t give up her rights unless the couple consists of a man and a woman”, according to the paper.

And in Austria, The European Court of Human Rights has ruled against a ban on second parent adoptions by same sex couples, The Washington Blade reports:

Two women who have been raising a son born to one of them in 1995 submitted an adoption application to a local court in early 2005. The couple also requested the Austria Constitutional Court, which is the country’s highest tribunal, declare the portion of the civil code that prevents the same-sex partner of a parent to adopt his or her child.

Classic case of two steps forward, one step back.

Europe: Poll Gauges Support for Same Sex Adoption, Marriage Equality in Seven Countries

Friday, January 11th, 2013

Europe: Poll Gauges Support for Same Sex Adoption, Marriage Equality in Seven CountriesA majority of people in several European countries believe that same-sex couples should be allowed to get married and adopt children, but in France the public is divided, according to YouGov.

It’s latest poll shows a slim majority of French people (51%) are against allowing gay couples to adopt. The findings come ahead of an expected rally this weekend in France against the government’s plans to legalise equal marriage and equal adoption rights.

Support for same-sex marriage is highest in Denmark and Sweden, at 79%, and lowest in France where 47% are in favour of allowing gay couples to wed, while 41% are opposed and 12% say they don’t know.

Authored By Scott Roberts – See the Full Story at Pink News

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