German right mulls expanding rights of gay couples
BERLIN — The German right appears more open to expanding gay rights, with several leaders of the governing Christian Democratic Union (CDU) speaking in weekend interviews of bridging the gap betwee same-sex and heterosexual couples.
Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble told the weekly news magazine Focus the government was examining the effects of a ruling Tuesday by the country's highest court that gays in a civil partnership can adopt their partners' adopted children.
In the ruling, "couples of the same sex were not excluded from the concept of a 'family' formulated in the basic law," Schaeuble said in the Focus interview to appear Sunday.
And Volker Kauder, who heads the German parliament's conservative faction, told the weekly Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung: "It's clear that the Constitutional Court's recent ruling must and will be implemented."
"We will look into whether this will have fiscal implications," he added.
Germany introduced registered partnerships of same-sex couples in 2001, granting them similar rights to those of married couples, excluding tax matters and adoption.
At their party congress in December, the CDU rejected a motion to put gay couples on the same tax footing as married ones, following a heated debate.
But according to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, Kauder thinks new legislation on the matter will be introduced in parliament before the summer break.
Meanwhile Michael Grosse-Broemer, the CDU's chief whip, told the Saturday edition of the Suddeutsche Zeitung daily that the ruling alliance needed "to be more flexible in matters of equality" for same-sex and heterosexual couples.
But Stephan Mayer, a deputy from the CDU's sister party the Christian Social Union (CSU), hinted at possible divisions on the issue.
"I am sure there won't be complete alignment with the CSU in the coming months," he told the Tagesspiegel am Sonntag weekly.