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Germany

Government Wants More Rights for Gays

The center-left coalition in Berlin wants to bring a bill into parliament that would expand an equal rights law for homosexual couples that came into force on Jan. 1. The proposed legislation would allow, among other things, a surviving partner to assume inheritance upon the death of their spouse. Another measure would give homosexual partners certain tax advantages that heterosexual couples already enjoy. The majority of Social Democrats and Greens however do not see eye to eye on extending the so-called "splitting" rule that allows heterosexual couples to gain a greater advantage on their income taxes. The Greens would like this rule to apply to same-sex partnerhips; the SPD claims it is not necessary. The passage of any such legislation requires the approval of the upper house of parliament, the Bundesrat, which is dominated by the conservative Christian Democrats (CDU). Greens parliamentary leader, Volker Beck, is hoping the CDU's opposition partners, the Free Democrats (FDP), can influence the CDU in the Bundesrat to pass the bill.

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