Germany expands reparations payments for men prosecuted for being gay

A bench that says "homosexuals only."
Photo: Paul Zinken, dpa via AP

Germany has expanded reparations payments for gay and bi men who were investigated under the country’s former law that banned homosexuality.

Paragraph 175 banned male homosexuality in Germany in 1871 and was broadened under Nazi rule. From 1945 to 1969, when the law was made more lenient, around 100,000 men were investigated under the law and 50,000 were convicted in West Germany.

The law was ultimately repealed in 1994.

Germany’s parliament annulled the convictions in 2017 and allowed for payments to the men who were convicted under the law of 3000 euro ($3400) per conviction and 1500 euro ($1700) for each year spent in jail.

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Now the Justice Ministry is allowing compensation payments of 500 euro ($567) for each investigation opened, 1500 euro for each year of pre-trial custody, and 1500 euro for other “disadvantages” related to the law.

“Paragraph 175 destroyed lives, led to sham marriages, harassment, blackmail and suicide,” Justice Minister Katarina Barley said.

In the two years since reparations payments started, 133 people have applied for compensation and the government has paid 433,500 euro ($491,404).

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