German court backs gay couples’ tax rights in setback to Merkel 德國法院支持同性伴侶稅務優惠 令梅克爾受挫

Thu, Jul 04, 2013 - Page 10

Germany’s top court said on June 6 that gay couples are entitled to the same tax benefits as married heterosexuals in a ruling which threatens to deepen rifts within Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives just three months before an election.

The verdict requires a change in the law and is a red rag to a bull to some in Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) and its traditionally Catholic Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), who worry that conservative values are being diluted.

The ruling was widely expected after the court in February overturned a ban on same-sex couples adopting a child already adopted by one of the partners.

“The provisions set out in the income-tax law violate the general rule of equality,” wrote the Karlsruhe-based court, adding the law should be changed retroactively from Aug. 2001.

Same-sex partnerships have been legal in Germany since 2001 but do not enjoy the same tax benefits as married heterosexuals.

Gay rights have become a flashpoint in several countries. When France became the 14th country to allow same-sex marriage in May, conservatives and Catholics took to the streets.

Merkel, keen to avoid a pre-election showdown with the CDU and CSU’s right wing which is losing patience with her centrist policies, has not come down on one side or the other in public.

(Reuters)

德國法院六月六日裁決,同性伴侶有權跟異性戀夫妻享有同樣的稅務優惠,這項裁定可能使總理安潔拉‧梅克爾所領導的保守派陣營,在大選前三個月陷入分裂。

這項判決要求政府必須修法,很可能激怒梅克爾領導的基民黨,及其傳統上天主教巴伐利亞邦的姊妹黨基社盟部份黨員,他們擔心保守派價值會遭到破壞。

法院今年二月推翻同性伴侶收養已先被其中一人收養的子女禁令後,各界就普遍預料法院會再作出給予同性伴侶同等稅務優惠的裁定。

「所得稅法中的條文違反了平等原則」,位於卡爾斯魯厄的聯邦憲法法庭法官在裁決書中寫道,法官還說,這項法令應自二○○一年八月起回溯修正。

同性伴侶關係在德國自二○○一年就已合法,但卻未能享有與異性戀夫妻同等的稅務優惠。

同性權益已在數個國家成為爭論引爆點。法國今年五月成為全球第十四個准許同性婚姻的國家時,保守派及天主教徒就曾走上街頭示威。

梅克爾為避免在選前,與其中間派政策已失去耐性的基民黨和基社盟右翼人士正面衝突,到目前為止尚未針對此議題公開表態支持任何一方。

(路透/翻譯:俞智敏)