John M. Becker

Gay German Pol to Merkel: Time to Decide on Marriage

Filed By John M. Becker | January 24, 2014 10:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: Angela Merkel, civil partnerships, gay marriage, Germany, Guido Westerwelle, marriage discrimination, marriage equality, relationship recognition, same-sex marriage

germany_gay_flag.pngGuido Westerwelle, the openly gay former foreign minister of Germany, called on Chancellor Angela Merkel, his former boss, to stop stonewalling on the issue of marriage equality and finally "decide" how the government should proceed.

Westerwelle made the comments in an interview with the German magazine Stern, his first since his party's defeat in September's parliamentary elections.

Deutsche Welle reports:

As part of the coalition between the Christian Democratics (CDU) and the FDP [Free Democrats], Westerwelle had served as Merkel's vice chancellor from 2009 and 2011. He believes, however, his former colleague can do more on the issue of gay rights.

Despite the FDP's poor showing at the polls, Westerwelle said he hoped "the progress made during our term in government" would be completed in Merkel's third term, "namely the complete legal equality of same-sex partnerships and marriage."

He said Germany had yet to achieve that equality, adding of Merkel: "Now she has to decide."

Westerwelle, who became Germany's first openly gay cabinet minister in 2009, is in a civil partnership with Michael Mronz. Civil partnerships are the highest form of relationship recognition currently afforded to same-sex couples in Germany, as the country does not allow them to marry. Recent polls, however, suggest that 65% of Germans support equal marriage.

Merkel's government has long been reluctant to act on marriage equality. In fact, Germany's Federal Constitutional Court has had to intervene three times within the past two years, nudging the government forward on tax equality, adoption rights, and property transfer benefits for same-sex couples.

With both the United Kingdom and France passing marriage equality last year, Germany's stubborn refusal to end marriage discrimination is leaving it increasingly isolated among the major European powers.

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