German court: Gay marriage is only 'partnership'

16 Jun 2010

By MELISSA EDDY (AP) - 23 hours ago

BERLIN -- A Berlin court declined to set a precedent by recognizing a gay marriage performed in Canada, ruling Tuesday that the union would only be considered a civil partnership in Germany.

German law defines marriage as exclusively between men and women. It allows civil partnerships between same-sex couples.

Andreas Boettcher, a 37-year-old German event manager, married his Spanish partner, a dancer and choreographer, in Montreal in July 2006. He asked a Berlin administrative court to recognize the relationship as a marriage after local authorities listed him as "single" on his registration card in November, despite his Canadian marriage certificate and a family registry entry from Spain that names him as the husband of his partner.

Boettcher said the couple, who have been together for 17 years, decided to marry in Canada about six months before they took a trip there to participate in a sporting event.

Spain and five other countries in Europe let same-sex couples wed. In the United States, six states and the District of Columbia have legalized gay marriages.

"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 said a same-sex marriage abroad is to 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 forcing Boettcher to take his case to court to get a marriage recognized as a civil union.

Article taken from The Associated Press.