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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.The Parliament had to change the law retroactively, and did so within a month.

It gave the Bundestag one year to effect the necessary change in the relevant law.On 17 August 2010, the Federal Constitutional Court ruled that the surviving partners of registered partnerships are entitled to the same inheritance tax rules as the survivors of mixed-sex marriages.Surviving marital partners paid 7–30% inheritance tax while surviving registered partners paid 17–50%.The 8-member Court further ruled, with three dissenting votes, that the substance of the law conforms to the Basic Law (Grundgesetz, the German Constitution), and ruled that these partnerships could be granted equal rights to those given to married couples.(The initial law had deliberately withheld certain privileges, such as joint adoption and pension rights for widows and widowers), in an effort to observe the "special protection" which the Constitution provided for marriage and the family.

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