Germany’s history with LGBT rights has beenconfusing, to say the least.
Although it is one of the most gay-friendlycountries in the world, today same-sex marriage is still outlawed despite being legal in 13European countries.
And while a majority of German citizens supportequal rights, the German government does not.
So, why is Germany so split on gay rights? Well, being gay in Germany has always beenkind of a mixed bag.
During the Weimar Republic which precededthe Nazi Party coming to power, Germany was the center of a homosexual revolution.
The open acceptance of gay men and women ledto a number of changes in how homosexuality was seen around the world.
Instead of treating it as a deviation from“normal” sexual tendencies, it was instead understood as a natural, inborn characteristic.
Nearly a century before the same view madeits way around the world.
Nonetheless, at the time there were laws onthe books prohibiting same-sex relations between men, referred to as “Paragraph 175”.
This law was rarely enforced until Nazis tookcontrol of Germany, and began enforcing and broadening it to include “lewdness” andeven including those suspected of being gay.
Roughly 15,000 gay men were sent to concentrationcamps over the following years, and even after the war ended, it took until 1969 for homosexualityto be decriminalized, and 1994 for the law to be taken off the books.
Worse yet, it wasn’t until 2016 that Germany’sJustice Minister created legislation officially pardoning all those convicted of homosexuality,both during and after Nazi rule.
But even today, same-sex marriage is stillprohibited, although civil unions have been permitted since 2001.
Yet a majority of Germany supports same-sexmarriage, and a 2013 poll showed that Germans have the second highest social acceptanceof homosexuality in the world, after Spain, with roughly 87%.
So why is Germany so behind its European counterparts? Well, many blame German Chancellor, AngelaMerkel.
Merkel herself is considered conservativeon a number of social issues, potentially as a result of her upbringing by a Protestantpastor father in the repressive East Germany.
Additionally, her political party, the ChristianDemocratic Union is considered center-right, and has voted down numerous pro-LGBT bills.
Merkel has even said that heterosexual marriageis directly linked to the family, and both should be protected by the state.
For her, this means falling behind the restof Europe as LGBT rights continue to evolve.
Still, the government does seem to be progressing.
Just in 2013, due to a constitutional challenge,adoption rights were extended to gay couples as long as one parent already had custodyof the child.
However, joint-same sex adoption is stillillegal in Germany.
That same year, the country also became thefirst in Europe to offer a third gender for newborn children, known as “X”, whicheffectively postpones establishing gender identity until a future point when eitherthe parents or the child are comfortable deciding.
Although the German population is decidedlysame-sex friendly and socially progressive, it is taking time for that tolerance and acceptanceto translate into legal benefits.
A very liberal Germany being run by a center-rightleaning party seems to be the greatest source of conflict.
Nonetheless, it is unlikely that the countrywill regress on LGBT rights, the only question is how long it will take to move forward.
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Luckily enough, being gay is no longer a crimein Germany, but that’s not the case around the world.
There are still countries where homosexualactivity is a criminal offense, and in some places you can be killed.
So, where is it illegal to be gay? Find out in this video.
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