BY GEIR MOULSON, ASSOCIATED PRESS
Granting gay couples the same income tax breaks enjoyed by heterosexual married couples would add to a string of departures from conservative orthodoxy under Merkel's leadership. Those have included abandoning military conscription and speeding up Germany's exit from nuclear power.
In Germany, same-sex couples have been able to register civil partnerships that legally fall short of formal marriage since 2001. Heterosexual married couples can, unlike same-sex couples, reduce their tax burden by filing joint income tax returns, thus paying less than single taxpayers.