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Germany: New Federal Government Promotes Gay Rights

Equal Treatment, Protections & Partnerships

By Volker Beck
League '90 Green Spokesperson, German MP
Translated by Dorian Haseloff

gaygermany.gif - 1.85 KThe advent of the red-green government brings a clear change in policies for gay men and lesbians. The "promotion of tolerance, the respect for minorities and the strengthening of their rights" is laid down in the coalition contract as one of the objectives of the new Federal Government in Germany. In the field of interior and legal policy it was agreed:

"The new Federal Government will protect minorities and work to achieve their equal treatment and full social participation. Nobody should be discriminated against on account of his/her disability, origin, colour, ethnic affiliation or sexual orientation as a gay man or a lesbian. To this end, we will initiate a law against discrimination and for the promotion of equal treatment (among other things with the introduction of a legal institution of the "Registered Partnership" with rights and obligations). The recommendations of the European Parliament on the equal rights of les- bians and gay men will be consulted."

Tough negotiations were held on this issue. The Social-Democratic Party was originally unwilling to deal with the question of gay and lesbian partnership in the coalition contract. In this case, League'90 / The Greens were able to push this through.

It is important to stress that the coalition contract says in the case of "Registered Partnership", no legal rights are excluded. Thus statements by Social- Democratic politicians that homosexual couples will, for instance, not be recognised for the purpose of taxation, are not in accordance with the text of the coalition contract.

greenparty3.gif - 3.22 K League'90 / The Greens will insist strongly that the same rights be granted to gay and lesbian couples as to married couples.

The work has not come to an end for us. Gay and lesbian groups and associations will have to continue to fight to achieve true equality until the Federal Parliament passes the law on registered partnership.

We shall only achieve this with united efforts.

With the planned anti-discrimination law, Germany will keep pace with developments in Europe. This gives the clear signal that gay men and lesbians should no longer be second-class citizens.

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