Polish court approves same-sex couple inheritance

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Updated 3:48 PM ET

WARSAW, Poland Poland's Supreme Court said Wednesday that a same-sex partner can inherit the right to a deceased's rented apartment.

The decision extends a right that so far was granted only to spouses, children, grandchildren or unmarried heterosexual partners of tenants who had died.

The court said that the right applies equally to a cohabiting same-sex partner if he, or she, had been in an "emotional and physical" relationship with the deceased.

It was a response to the case of a gay man, identified only as Adam K., who sued Warsaw city authorities for denying him the right to stay in the city-owned apartment his partner had rented. The suit was rejected by the lowest court and the man appealed. The court considering the appellation was not sure if the right applied and sought the interpretation from the Supreme Court, which pointed to the Constitution which guarantees equal rights to all.

In denying the apartment to the man, Warsaw authorities argued that it understood relationships to be between heterosexual couples.

Poland, which joined the European Union in 2004 does not allow gay marriage, but Prime Minister Donald Tusk, and some other officials before him, have said that inheritance or social security could be secured to same-sex partners through lawfully registered agreements between them.

In a similar case of another Polish gay man in 2010, the European Human Rights Tribunal said that Poland had violated European Union regulations when it did not allow the man to inherit a rented apartment.

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