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7 Gay Couples Register in Germany

May 6, 1999

HAMBURG, Germany (AP) _ Seven lesbian and gay couples registered as long-term partners Thursday with the city of Hamburg, the first to take advantage of an unprecedented law in Germany offering symbolic recognition for same-sex couples.

The Social Democratic-led government in Hamburg approved the law last month, which allows lesbians and gay men to officially register their partnerships, but carries no legal rights or duties.

Hamburg lawmakers said although the law was mainly symbolic, they hoped it would serve as an impetus for federal action.

``Another step must now follow on the federal level in the form of legal security for same-sex partnerships,″ said parliament member Lutz Kretschmann.

Germany’s new center-left government in Bonn has said it intends to grant some legal status to same-sex couples, but not the right to adopt children.

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