Aug 022012
German Federal Constitution Court

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Gay officials in a life partnership must receive the same supplements as heterosexual married couples. This decided the Federal Constitutional Court in a decision published on Wednesday.

Thus, the Court once again reinforces the rights of gay and lesbian life partner. Officials had claimed at an early stage their claims, are entitled to payment as of August 1, 2001 (case No. 2 BvR 1397/09).

It is «Indirect discrimination because of sexual orientation» when same-sex couples were given no surcharge, it says in the explanatory statement of the decision. Only the special protection of marriage according to the basic law was not sufficient reason to discriminate against other forms of life. The Court ordered that officials who had «real time» asserted their claims so retroactively must receive unemployment during the respective budget year - from 1 August 2001.

The decision is especially effective for the past: for the time since 2009, partners receive the same supplements as married after the federal salaries Act anyway. Almost all federal States - with the exception of Saxony - pay allowances now same-sex couples.

Opposition politicians praised the decision. "Rights for gays and lesbians are not an act of mercy, but constitutional rule", the parliamentary Manager of the Greens in the Bundestag, Volker Beck, said. «The coalition must eliminate actively now promptly also the discrimination in income tax, rather than once again waiting for a verdict from Karlsruhe», asked Beck. For fall, he announced a corresponding request in the Bundestag.

The Deputy Chairman of the SPD group in the Bundestag, to Christine Lambrecht, called the decision a "long overdue" step. She spoke out for the complete equality of registered life partnership and marriage. «If you have the same duties, must have the same rights.»

Married people get federal officials – regardless of whether they have children - depending on the grade a contract between 113,96 and 119,68 euros per month. For gay and lesbian life partner, the scheme was only offset with effect from January 1, 2009.

With the decision, the Constitutional Court again strengthens the rights of same-sex couples. In 2009, the judges of the first Senate had decided that the unequal treatment of marriage and life partnership in the area of occupational pension is unconstitutional. 2010, they ended the unequal treatment of the drawdown. Also complaints against discrimination in income tax - the so-called wives - are currently pending. When a decision is expected, is still not in sight, the spokeswoman for the Court said.

The second Senate of the Constitutional Court had, however, at first hesitant shown: 2007 and 2008 complaints against discrimination at the married supplement were not accepted for decision. The limit of the aggregate to married officials is «constitutionally no objection to», it was said at the time still. These decisions were taken but only by a Chamber of three judges.

PHOTO: German Federal Constitutional Court