Rights of gay couples in Germany


Same-sex couples are allowed the same marriage, legal, adoption and inheritance rights as those afforded to couples in traditional union. Find out how to have a gay wedding in Germany...


Non-Germans legally joined in a same-sex marriage to a German citizen may apply for the right to citizenship.



In 2001 the German Parliament passed legislation recognising same-sex unions. It is known as the Life Partnership Act (Eingetragene Lebenspartnerschaft) and granted same sex couples a number of rights enjoyed by married heterosexual couples, in particular:


They may take each other's names

They must support one another financially

They may divorce and demand a settlement


However, campaigners were not completely satisfied, feeling that legislation did not go far enough and three states attempted to overturn the legislation claiming that it undermined constitutional protection of the family. The courts upheld the law.


In 2004 the German Parliament extended additional rights to same-sex couples. The Life Partnership Law (Revision) Act means that:


Same-sex couples can no longer be compelled to testify against one another in court

Widows and widowers qualify for state pensions

Rights regarding children allow for the adoption of the biological children of the spouse


Tax benefits between same-sex partners have still not been brought in line with those granted to heterosexual couples.


The Lesbian and Gay Federation of Germany (Lesben- und Schwulenverband Deutschlands- LSVD) continues to campaign for further rights of adoption and equal tax and welfare benefits for so-called "Rainbow families".


As with heterosexual marriages, marriage can take place as long as both parties have reached eighteen years of age. (The age of consent in Germany is fourteen for gay, lesbian and heterosexual relationships but parental consent is needed to marry before age eighteen).


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