Germany: conservatives back gay couple tax breaks

German Chancellor Angela Merkel signs autographs as she arrives for the opening of the Bayreuth Wagner opera festival outside the Gruener Huegel (Green Hill) opera house in Bayreuth July 25, 2012. REUTERS/Michaela Rehle (GERMANY - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT POLITICS)

BERLIN: A group of lawmakers from German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative party is calling for same-sex couples in civil partnerships to be given the same tax breaks as heterosexual married couples.

Thirteen members of Merkel's Christian Democrats said in a statement the move would be "only consistent."

Merkel's minister for families, Kristina Schroeder, was quoted Tuesday as telling the daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung that the call comes "at the right time" and that same-sex couples in civil partnerships "take on long-term responsibility for each other, so they live out conservative values."

In Germany, same-sex couples have been able to register civil partnerships that legally fall short of formal marriage since 2001.

They were introduced by a previous center-left government. While Merkel's party accepts them, many conservatives remain reluctant to go further.





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