German high court OKs gay marriage
Wed Jul 17, 7:33 PM ET
SUMMARY: On Wednesday Germany's high court upheld a law allowing gay couples to marry.
On Wednesday Germany's high court upheld a law allowing gay couples to marry.
Judges at the Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe voted 5-3 to back the law, which was challenged last year by Bavaria and two eastern states.
The court has rejected a lawsuit by conservatives who argued gay marriage violates constitutional provisions protecting marriage and the family
The law, in effect since August, allows gay couples to "marry" at registry offices and requires a court decision for divorce. Same-sex couples also receive rights given to heterosexual couples in areas such as inheritance and health insurance.
However, the law withholds some tax privileges granted to heterosexual couples.
The legislation brought Germany in line with countries such as Denmark, which was the first to grant rights to gay couples in 1989, France and Sweden. The Netherlands remains the only country that extends equal marriage benefits to same-sex couples.