The German Federal Constitutional Court has ruled that it is unconstitutional to fail to extend to partners in civil unions the income tax benefits enjoyed by married couples. Here's how Spiegel Online International explains it:
The Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe ruled that the unequal treatment of marriages and civil partnerships regarding taxes was unconstitutional, and demanded that the law be changed retroactively to August 1, 2001, the date that Germany legalized civil unions. Until new regulations exist, the current provisions for joint filings of married couples can be applied to civil partnerships, according to the decision.
The move had significant political support. All parties in the parliament, with the exception of Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and its Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), had recently called for such equal treatment.
The full article is here.
This will be an interesting development to watch.