German Same-Sex Marriages By Summer, says Justice Minister | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 09.06.2004
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German Same-Sex Marriages By Summer, says Justice Minister

Germany could be the next country to introduce legislation to permit same-sex marriages. German Justice Minister Brigitte Zypries has vowed to push the new laws through before the end of the summer. Zypries said the government would bypass the Bundesrat, the upper house of parliament where conservatives hold the majority, to grant gay and lesbian couples the same rights as heterosexual couples. Gay couples have been able to register their relationships since 2001, but the new legislation will grant them almost all of the same rights as married heterosexuals. In addition to tax benefits, gay and lesbian couples will inherit pensions and property from their partners if they die, be entitled to alimony and property if they get divorced and would not be punished for refusing to testify against their partners in trials.