Target: German Federal Constitutional Court
Goal: Thank the German Federal Constitutional Court for their extension of tax benefits to same-sex civil union couples
The battle for same-sex marriage equality is an increasingly global issue, highlighted by recent legislative victories in the United Kingdom and France. A recent judicial ruling in Germany adds one more victory to the list. The German Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe decisively ruled in favor of extending tax benefits to same-sex civil union couples in a blow to the center-right Christian Democratic Union’s (CDU) oppositional efforts.
As the Associated Press reported, the legal rationale for this landmark ruling clearly states “that treating civil unions differently [for taxation purposes] amounts to ‘unequal treatment because of sexual orientation,’” which constitutes “discrimination against a minority.” The ruling explicitly sought to bring tax policies into accordance with Germany’s constitutional imperative of equal rights, while dismissing CDU claims “that married couples must enjoy higher protections and tax benefits because they usually have children.” While the Court affirmed the importance of “policies in favor of families and children” they must not “be promoted by discriminating against civil unions.”
The historic ruling not only elevates the social and financial status of same-sex couples in Germany, it also presents a double challenge to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ruling CDU-led coalition. First, this ruling circumvents the CDU’s reluctance to legislatively provide tax benefits to civil union couples mere months ahead of deeply contested federal elections. Second, the extension of tax benefits ironically coincides with the CDU’s neo-Reaganite fiscal and economic ideology, which advocates for reduced taxes to spur reinvestment in Germany’s robust economy. CDU opposition to same-sex couple tax breaks thus defies both widespread German public sentiments toward equality as well as the CDU’s own ideological preferences.
Thank the German Federal Constitutional Court for this progressive ruling that cements equality for same-sex couples under the law.
Dear Justices of the German Federal Constitutional Court,
Ongoing debates surrounding the legal and social status of same-sex couples increasingly dominate headlines in the United States and Europe. Recent legislative actions in the United Kingdom and France have advanced the prospects for same-sex marriage equality with wide margins of victory.
The German Federal Constitutional Court’s recent ruling on the tax benefit status of same-sex civil unions reified this progress. On the legal basis of nondiscrimination and the enshrined principle of equality under the law, your ruling assures same-sex couples throughout Germany that they are no longer viewed as second-class citizens. From a practical economic standpoint you also guarantee same-sex couples the opportunity to reinvest tax savings in Germany’s growing economy, a point apparently overlooked by opponents of this decision.
Thank you for your thoughtful and progressive efforts to ensure equal treatment of all German citizens under the law, irrespective of their sexual orientations.
[Your Name Here]
Image Credit: Wikipedia-ce via Wikimedia