court decisions

Legal Foreign Marriages Are Just ‘Civil Partnerships’ in Germany

Andreas Boettcher, a German, married his now-husband, who is Spanish, in Montreal in 2006. They have been together for 17 years. But he received in November a German registration card listing him as “single,” despite his married status, so he took the matter to court, which just ruled in his favor. While also ruling against him.

A Berlin court today ruled Germany must recognize his marriage, but only as a civil partnership. German laws define marriage — you guessed it — as between one man and one woman, but in 2001 introduced “registered partnerships” for gay couples.

Boettcher’s Canadian marriage, under the court’s ruling, should be considered a civil partnership and nothing more. He and his husband (who he chose not to identify), of course, were looking for the M-word. But the outcome is still better than what he would’ve received in U.S. courts: Absolutely nothing, thanks to DOMA.

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  • Rochelle

    hello! the exact same thing happens in the UK. Its disgusting. People who get ‘really’ married should just say they are in the country they are in and let the authorities get themselves out of the mess.

    if they say, oh, you are single, just say no i am married. If they list you as having some sort of civil union crap, just say no, i am married. what on earth are you talking about???

  • Max

    Well, since same sex marriage is not legal in Germany, why on earth should some foreigners partnership be accepted as a marriage when none of the citizens can get it, that loophole simply doesn’t exist and it would actually be disgusting if it was.
    Gay people who cana fford to fly to Canada are being recognized as married while people wo can’t can only be partnered?

    Push for marriage equality in Germany, the UK and generally everywhere, but don’t expect to get special treatment.
    They can’t get something that doesn’t legally exist in the first place, obviously.

  • Glen Beck

    I want to marry Sean Hannity…in Canada

  • Andrew

    Let’s not forget that the Vice Chancellor, Guido Westerwelle, is himself Gay. Not to mention the Mayors of Berlin and Hamburg, the largest and second largest cities in Germany, — including the Capital.

    That’s like the Vice President and the Mayors of NYC and LA being Gay here in the US.

    Just sayin.

  • Jaroslaw

    What always amazes and disgusts me with this stuff; here is this guy, a German citizen that gets less respect from his own government, to which he has paid lots of taxes I’m sure for years. A foreign STRAIGHT couple can come to Germany and their marriage license will be recognized even if they have only been married one day.

  • Evan

    @Max: I think you’re missing the strategy: if he could have forced the state to recognize his foreign marriage, that would have cracked the door open on a path to forcing domestic gay marriage.

  • L.Single

    “He and his husband (who he chose not to identify)” — Seriously? He wants the government to recognize his marriage, which would be a public record, but he won’t identify his husband?

  • deutscher

    this article is somewhat misleading…civil partnerships are the primary governing union in germany whereas marriage is generally a religious ceremony (unlike in the united states where marriage is the only way to get tax benefits from the federal government). this court decision is not as outrageous as americans might think.

  • Paschal

    @deutscher: Civil marriage is recognised in Germany so only allowing gay couples to have civil partnerships rather than marriage is discrimination by the German State. A bill is currently before the (sort of like) upper house of Germany which would legalise gay marriage and is in accordance with the Federal Constitutional Court’s decision of 22 October 2009 which stated that gay couples , under the Basic Law of Germany (the German constitution), must be given all the rights and obligations as straight couples. The Berlin Senate has announced its intention to introduce a bill legalising marriage equality into the German Bundesrat (the sort of upper house) and the government has promised to get rid of inequality between straight and gay couples But has not stated that it Would legalise marriage equality. By the way, the Irish civil partnership bill will begin the fourth and second last stage of passage through Dáil Eireann (the Irish lower house and it is by far the most powerful house) this month and is expected to be enacted by October by the latest.

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