On Friday 30th June 2017 German parliament voted to legalise same-sex marriage. Making this year's Berlin Pride all the more a reason to celebrate and a fantastic end to Pride Month!
Same-sex couples in Germany have been able to form civil partnerships since 2001 but had not been granted full marital or adoption rights until now. Despite the fact that polls have shown that the majority of Germans have been in favour of same-sex marriage for years, it has been blocked by Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats and other conservative parties until the end of last month. The turning point came only a few days before the vote was held, when two major parties stated that the legislation would be a condition of any future coalition. Speculation has been made that Merkel’s decision was a way of gaining the support of more liberal voters ahead of September’s general election; she herself voted against the legislation and has shown no change in the opinion that marriage should be ‘between a man and a woman’. However, other important members of the party were in support and it passed easily with 393 votes to 226.
Whatever the motivation behind the vote, it is a huge win for the community- not only in terms of legal rights but it also boosts personal levels of self-esteem and self-worth. The feeling of equality and acceptance is so important for anyone struggling with their own identity or coming out. With many things to feel angry and disillusioned about, it is really important to feel that we are still making steps in the right direction and take a moment to celebrate the huge progress that is being made. Hopefully this will only help to build momentum for other countries to follow suit and join the likes of Ireland, Spain, Canada, Brazil, and The UK- to name a few where same-sex marriage is currently legal. Hundreds celebrated outside the Brandenburg Gate when the result was announced, and many more this weekend at the Christopher Street Day, making this years LGBTQI Pride celebration a pretty special one to be a part of!
Photo credit: Creative Commons