Germany’s Social Democrats call for same-sex marriage

EPA/WOLFRAM KASTL

First same-sex church wedding ceremony of the Berlin State Church, 12 August 2016.

Germany’s Social Democrats call for same-sex marriage


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A new push to legalise same-sex marriage in Germany will be launched by Germany’s Social Democrats (SPD), junior partners in Chancellor Angela Merkel‘s ruling coalition. A similar move has been opposed in the past by Merkel’s Christian Democrats.

As reported by the Reuters news agency, Thomas Oppermann, who heads the SPD’s parliamentary faction, announced plans to raise the issue at the next meeting of the right-centre coalition.

In an interview with Der Spiegel magazine, he also said his party would also press for rehabilitation and compensation of people charged under a law that criminalised homosexuality which was in effect in postwar West Germany until 1969.

One leading conservative lawmaker, Deputy Finance Minister Jens Spahn, is openly gay and also backs same-sex marriage, according to Der Spiegel.

Spahn, whom Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble named as a possible future candidate for chancellor, told Bild am Sonntag that he and his partner would like to adopt children.

“I think we would be good, responsible parents,” Spahn told the newspaper. “But unfortunately my party is conservative in the wrong way there.”

Katrin Goering-Eckardt, head of the Green party in parliament, said her party would ask for public debate on the issue.

“For years, we’ve seen nothing but hot air from the conservatives and the SPD,” she said in a statement.

According to German Family Minister Manuela Schwesig, a Social Democrat, legalising same-sex marriage would mark important societal progress. “It’s time for the conservatives to move on this issue. It must stop putting the brakes on modernisation,” she said in a statement, citing widespread support for such a move.

In 2015, the coalition government agreed to small changes in same-sex civil partnership rules, but staunch opposition from the conservatives prevented approval of gay marriage.

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