The German retail giant Karstadt Warenhaus AG has announced it is putting registered gay relationship on the same footing as marriage. In Germany, gays and lesbians can enter into legal unions called "registered partnerships," which carry some of the benefits of heterosexual marriage. The company announced the new equality policy covers all stores in the Karstadt chain and said it hopes to set a trend toward ending the discrimination gays and lesbians face in the workplace. The policy means gays and lesbians will enjoy all the employee leave benefits their married colleagues do. The company said it has not calculated the additional costs that will be incurred since it does not yet know how many of its employees are part of a registered partnership. The company employees more than 50,000 people.