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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, June 18, 2010 - Volume 38 Issue 25
Germany won't recognize same-sex marriages, court says
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Germany won't recognize same-sex marriages, court says

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

A Berlin court refused to recognize a German man's marriage to his Spanish partner, even though it was legally concluded in Canada and recognized in Spain.

Under German law, the couple are merely in a 'civil partnership,' the court ruled on June 15.

Andreas Boettcher, a German events manager, married his Spanish partner, a dancer and choreographer, in Montreal in July 2006.

The couple has been together for 17 years. They decided to marry in Canada about six months before taking a trip there to participate in a sporting event.

Despite the fact that he has a valid Canadian marriage certificate, and a family registry entry from Spain listing him as the legal husband of his partner, Boettcher's German ID card listed him as "single."

In November 2009, he petitioned a Berlin administrative court to recognize his relationship as a marriage.

Canada and Spain both recognize same-sex marriages. Germany does not.

"The German authorities would have had no problems, had [he] been an Isabel," said Boettcher, who asked that his husband not be identified.

The German court ruled that a same-sex marriage concluded in another country should be legally considered a civil partnership in Germany.

Boettcher said he accepted the ruling, although it fell short of his goal.

"I could fight it, but it would take a lot of time and a lot of money," he said. "At least, I have reached the minimum."

Germany's Gay and Lesbian Association sharply criticized authorities for forcing Boettcher to take his case to court and for failing to recognize his marriage as anything more than a civil partnership.

Seven European countries now permit same-sex marriages. A marriage equality bill is pending in Slovenia, and the Luxembourg government has announced that it will introduce such legislation this year.

The European Union does not require members to recognize same-sex marriages even if they are legal in other member states.

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