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Gay rights advocates: Merkel’s victory a loss for Germany’s LGBT community

Monday, September 23, 2013
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BERLIN — Gay rights groups in Germany say Chancellor Angela Merkel’s electoral victory could mean four more years of stagnation in terms of LGBT rights in the country.

Merkel’s conservative party (CDU-CSU) won Germany’s election Sunday with its best post-World War II result of 41.5 percent, just short of an absolute majority, according to official results.

Angela Merkel

Angela Merkel

Merkel and her CDU-CSU party have consistently opposed marriage and adoption for same-sex couples, although federal courts have forced the government to extend gay couples’ civil union rights, which fall short of marriage.

Merkel had refrained of making any positive commentary on the matter during the elections campaign, even when directly asked, saying “she’s more concerned about the child’s welfare.”

In contrast, Peer Steinbrück, the leader of the Social Democrats (SPD) who won a mere 26 percent, has called for full marriage equality and adoption rights.

The main coalition party of the CDU, the Free Democratic Party of Germany (FDP), who was headed by openly gay Guido Westerwelle, the country’s former Foreign Minister, failed to be elected.

The Green party, which is also strongly in favor of equality, won 8.4 percent, and its openly gay legislator Volker Beck was re-elected.

In order to form a government Merkel will need either of the two parties to form an overall effective parliamentary majority to rule.

Christian Beese, a gay German columnist to the portal Inqueery.de, wrote: “It is by no means certain that the SPD, in a coalition agreement, will campaign for … the [LGBT] community, as the FDP did four years ago.

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“Even if the SPD should insist on advancing adoption … [and] marriage for same sex couples laws, the move would have no chance.”

Beese added: “As long as the Conservatives have more than a third of the seats and the Chancellor will not allow any further progress to be made.”

The spokesperson for the Lesbian and Gay German Association (LSVD), Axel Hochrein, said that he expects that any advancement towards equality in the next for years would only be attainable through court action.

Currently, German same-sex couples can enter partnerships that fall short of marriage, but are denied adoption rights.

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