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According to the Senate, this law would best fit the Constitutional Court's ruling that same-sex couples must be equally treated as heterosexual ones.
Only Berlin, Brandenburg, Bremen and North Rhine-Westphalia voted in favour of the same-sex marriage bill; the other 12 Länder did not.
On 17 July 2002, the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany upheld the act.
The Court found, unanimously, that the process leading to the law's enactment was constitutional.
The Court gave the Parliament the deadline of 30 June 2014 to change the laws.
On 6 June 2013, the Federal Constitutional Court ruled that registered partnerships should have joint tax filing benefits equal to those of married (opposite-sex) couples.
The act grants a number of rights enjoyed by married, opposite-sex couples.
President Johannes Rau signed the law on 16 February 2001 and it entered into force on 1 August 2001.
It gave the same rights as married couples in several legal areas; there were however no noteworthy changes. Entering into life registered partnerships is no longer possible after the law allowing marriage for same-sex couples took effect on 1 October 2017.
Existing partnerships can retain their status or be converted into marriage.
All other parties made agreement on same-sex marriage a condition for joining a coalition government with the CDU/CSU after the 2017 election.
In March 2010, the Senate of Berlin announced its intention to introduce a same-sex marriage bill in the Bundesrat, the federal representation of the German states.