gay marriage

The Limits of Equality

Wowi CSD picture alliance DPA
Some politicians have helped make homosexuality in politics more acceptable, like gay former Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit (center)
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union party is wrestling with the issue of same-sex marriage. The CDU has changed in recent years, and it’s no longer clear whether conservatives’ opposition to such marriages still rules the day.

  • Facts


    • In the wake of the recent Irish vote to legalize gay marriage, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition reportedly agreed last week to make some changes to Germany’s same-sex civil partnership rules.
    • Many conservatives among her center-right Christian Democrats are opposed to same-sex marriages.
    • Polls show a large majority of Germans favor the legalization of such unions.
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If German politican Volker Kauder encounters a problem soon, he could thank Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s secretary of state who castigated Ireland’s recent vote in favor of gay marriage as a “defeat for humanity.”

Rome’s scathing condemnation led entire ranks of German Catholics to distance themselves from the harsh criticism.

Mr. Kauder, the leader of the Christian Democratic Union party in Germany’s parliament, last week told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper, “I reject gay marriage, i.e. the definition of marriage to include same-sex unions.”

His opinion may not be widely shared; polls show many Germans support equal rights for same-sex couples. On Monday, Chancellor Merkel received a petition signed by more than 150 stars, actors and other public figures from sport, politics and academia calling for a Bundestag vote on equal marriage rights without politicians being subject to party discipline.

“It is a question of conscience, not a party decision,” the writers of the letter argued.

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