Germany’s justice minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger said today she is looking at how gay couples can be given equality in the income tax system.

Earlier this week, the country’s highest court ruled that gay couples must be given equal tax inheritance rights and said the government must implement this by 2011.

The court is also expected make a ruling on income tax but Ms Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger said that the government should not wait until the decision to to change the law.

Heterosexual married couples in Germany can access income tax breaks. The country does not allow gay couples to marry and registered partnerships, which were legalised in 2001, offer only some of the benefits of marriage.

According to AP, Ms Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger told the Muenchner Merkur newspaper that she also wanted gay couples to be allowed to adopt children but said this was unlikely to happen until after 2013, when the next general election will be held.