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Popular Topics in Literature
García Lorca, Federico García Lorca, Federico
The works of García Lorca, internationally recognized as Spain's most prominent lyric poet and dramatist of the twentieth century, are filled with thinly veiled homosexual motifs and themes.
Musical Theater
There has always been homosexual involvement in American musical theatre and a homosexual sensibility even in straight musicals, and recently the Broadway musical has welcomed openly homosexual themes and situations.
Michelangelo Buonarroti Michelangelo Buonarroti
Best known for his genius in art and architecture, Michelangelo was also an accomplished author of homoerotic poetry.
African-American Literature: Gay Male African-American Literature: Gay Male
The African-American gay male literary tradition consists of a substantial body of texts and includes some of the most gifted writers of the twentieth century.
Camp Camp
Combining elements of incongruity, theatricality, and exaggeration, camp is a form of humor that helps homosexuals cope with a hostile environment.
Hughes, Langston Hughes, Langston
Langston Hughes, whose literary legacy is enormous and varied, was closeted, but homosexuality was an important influence on his literary imagination, and many of his poems may be read as gay texts.
Baldwin, James Arthur Baldwin, James Arthur
James Baldwin, a pioneering figure in twentieth-century literature, wrote sustained and articulate challenges to American racism and mandatory heterosexuality.
Wilde, Oscar Wilde, Oscar
Oscar Wilde is important both as an accomplished writer and as a symbolic figure who exemplified a way of being homosexual at a pivotal moment in the emergence of gay consciousness.
Topics In the News
German High Court Grants Same-Sex Couples Equal Tax Benefits
Posted by: Claude J. Summers on 06/06/13
Last updated on: 06/06/13
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In a major ruling released on June 6, 2013, Germany's Federal Constitutional Court ruled that same-sex couples are entitled to the same tax benefits granted to married heterosexual couples. The ruling, which greatly strengthens the country's "Life Partnerships," or civil unions, is seen as a rebuke to Chancellor Angela Merkel's center-right government.

The Federal Constitutional Court ruled 6-2 that Life Partnerships, which have been available to same-sex couples in Germany since 2001, must offer the same benefits as marriage. As reported by Juergen Baetz in the Associated Press, the Court ruled that treating the two forms of partnerships differently for tax purposes violates the country's guarantee of equal rights. Treating Life Partnerships differently from marriage constitutes "unequal treatment because of sexual orientation." Failure to be vigilant in guaranteeing equality "leads to discrimination against a minority," it warned.

Currently, married couples in Germany may file income taxes jointly, which can significantly lower their overall tax burden especially when one partner earns more than the other. However, couples in Life Partnerships are unable to avail themselves of this option.

The Merkel government had argued that married couples should enjoy greater protection and tax benefits because they usually have children. The Court, however, struck down that argument, ruling that policies in favor of families and children cannot be promoted by discriminating against couples in Life Partnerships.

In its ruling, the Court ordered the government to amend the relevant laws retroactively to 2001, when the Life Partnership law became effective. The ruling makes many couples in Life Partnerships eligible for substantial refunds for having overpaid their taxes.

In response to the decision, Family Minister Kristina Schroeder said she appreciated the clarity offered by the ruling and said that the law would be changed. On behalf of the government, she vowed that the necessary legislation to implement the decision would be passed by the fall.

Gay rights activists welcomed the decision. "The principle of equal treatment is valid for all citizens, independently of their sexual orientation," said the German Association of Lesbians and Gays.

Openly gay Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, of the Free Democrats (FDP), said the ruling showed the time had come "for German tax law to be as modern as its society."

In 2012 all parties in the Bundestag expressed support for extending equal tax benefits to same-sex couples except for the Chancellor's conservative Christian Democratic Union.

While there have been initiatives to institute marriage equality in Germany, none has yet received majority support in the Bundestag.

Some time ago, openly gay Mayor of Berlin Klaus Wowereit observed that on glbtq issues, "German society has been ahead of the lawmakers for a long time now."

In the videos below, Wowereit, who was first elected Mayor of Berlin in 2001, addressed the Victory Fund's International Gay and Lesbian Leadership Conference in San Francisco in 2009.

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