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Germany approves gay rights

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The new "gay partnership" law does not give homosexual couples the right to tax breaks or to adopt children  

BERLIN, Germany -- Two German states have lost a fight to ban a law granting homosexual couples more rights.

The plea by the states of Bavaria and Saxony to delay approval of the "gay partnership" law was rejected by the Federal Constitutional Court in the approval process of the law.

The states argued the law violated German constitutional legislation protecting marriage and the family.

It entitles homosexual couples to the same inheritance and insurance privileges as heterosexual couples and was approved by parliament in November. It will go into effect on August 1.

The Green Party, a backer of the new law, in a statement said: "The registration of same sex partnerships does not damage the family or marriage. The protection of marriage and family life should not mean discriminating against homosexuals."

Message Board: Gay rights  

The conservative Christian Social Union, which rules Bavaria, told The Associated Press the court ruling marked a "black day for families," referring to it as an attack on traditional family values.

Although gay couples will be able to exchange vows at government offices and choose a common surname, they did not win the right to tax privileges afforded to heterosexual couples, nor do they have the right to adopt children.

With the new law, Germany's immigration regulations will be modified to allow for foreigners to join their German partners in the country.

A Constitutional Court decision on whether the law breaches the constitutional bylaws on marriage and family is expected next year.

• German Government
• Working for Lesbian and Gay Rights
• An Introduction to the Federal Constitutional Court
• Gay Marriage Rights

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