Since this is a topic that interests quite a few people on my friends list strongly, I thought I'd post a translation of an article I read today.
Government wants to strengthen the rights of homosexual couples
Zypries: equal treatment planned in alimony and property laws
The German federal government wants to strengthen the rights of homosexual partners. Same-sex couples should be treated identically to married couples in alimony and property law, announced federal justice minister Brigitte Zypries (SPD) in the newspaper Berliner Zeitung. A bill to that effect will be brought before the Bundestag before summer break; the Bundesrat does not have to approve this bill.
"Lesbian and gay pairs are a social reality in Germany," said Zypries. "For this reason we will also give them the same rights as married couples as long as this does not conflict wit the special protection which is afforded marriage ard family in the constitution.
Legalisation of engagement planned
The SPD politician drew attention to the fact that gays and lesbians are still disadvantaged socially and legally in Germany. "We want to continue to decrease these legal discrimirations with the new draft of the Life Partnership Law." According to the minister, the red-green coalition is united in wanting to permit lesbian and gay couples to be engaged.
They can then refuse to testify in legal proceedings against their partners. In addition, they can claim civil damages on separation. Marital property laws will then also be applied to same-sex couples, said Zypries.
Such couples will then also count as a so-called "Zugewinngemeinschaft" [a union in which property acquired after the union is recognised is counted as belonging to both partners; LEO gives "community of acquisitions" and the even more sesquipedalian "joint ownership of the increase in capital value of assets"]. "Just as with failed marriages, lesbians and gays would have to support their ex-partner after separation," the minister emphasised. If one of the couple dies, the survivor will be eligible to claim the dead partner's pension benefits.