Same-sex couples cannot get married in Germany – in contrast to the situation in the US and some other EU countries. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s governing Christian Democrats remain opposed.
Up until 1993, homosexuality in Germany was a criminal offense, according to a law known as paragraph 175. That year, Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger stepped in and the law, passed in 1872, was finally abolished. It wasn’t until 2001 that the “registered civil partnership” was introduced as a substitute for marriage for couples deemed ineligible. In the last government, the supposedly progressive liberal Free Democrats (FDP), too, opposed marriage equality, keeping in line with the CDU and their Bavarian partners, the Christian Social Union. In 2013, the FDP lost its seats in parliament.
“I find it hard to accept full equality,” Merkel told a television program in 2013, before she was re-elected. In this video, you see a homosexual viewer who, with his male partner, is trying to adopt a child. “What reasons lead you to believe that children of same-sex couples are not brought up so well?” he asks the TV presenter and the chancellor.The audience applauds the question.
“It concerns the child’s welfare,” Merkel answers.
The audience member who asked the question responds: “But we gay couples are also concerned.”
“Yes, I know that, I know,” Merkel says, but she has obviously been forced into a tight spot. She does not go into detail about her stance.
Instead, the faction leader of Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) voiced his opinion. He asserted that “until proven otherwise, I am convinced that it is in a child’s interest to be raised by a mother and father.” In other words, marriage means a union of man and woman. On July 24, 52 percent of 12,000 CDU members surveyed were of the same opinion. Internal party opposition does not seem to be growing against Merkel.