Europe » Germany
Gay Guide Germany
Registered civil partnerships have been possible in Germany since 2001, but in many respects these were not legally equal to marriage. The state's discrimination against homosexuals, especially in tax and civil servants law, and the different legal status of rainbow families have been found unconstitutional by the Federal Constitutional Court in various rulings. In 2009, e.g., it was stated that it was not constitutionally justifiable to deduce from the special status of marriage that other types of civil unions should be designed with less rights than marriage. The political debate has intensified over the years. Before the federal elections in 2013, Chancellor Angela Merkel still argued to keep the special protection of heterosexual marriage due to concerns about the welfare of children. Four years later, Buendnis 90/The Green party, FDP and SPD made the introduction of gay marriage a condition for a coalition with CDU/CSU in the election campaign. Still most of the CDU/CSU members rejected it. The Chancellor was in a political dilemma - the majority in her own party was opposed to what a majority in the population and the other parties wanted. During a panel discussion on June 26, 2017, Merkel was elicited to express her wish for something like a "decision of conscience" in this matter. The usual whip in the Bundestag does not apply then, every member of parliament votes according to his or her best conscience. The other parties took immediate advantage of this. On 30 June, four days after Merkel's statement, they put the draft for the "Marriage for All" law on the agenda in the last session of the Bundestag before summer recess. The result: 393 in favour to 226 votes against, four abstentions. The parliamentary groups of the SPD, the Left and the Greens voted for the law unanimously. The majority of the CDU/CSU faction voted against, only 75 CDU/CSU deputies out of 304 present voted in favour. Among them were CDU Secretary General Peter Tauber, Chancellery Minister Peter Altmaier and Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen - Angela Merkel herself voted against. But that did not matter any more. After years of struggle, "Marriage for All" was finally there. Homosexuals in Germany have thus been able to marry since 1 October 2017 and have the same adoption rights as heterosexuals. The age of consent for all in Germany is 16 years. Germany has a flourishing lesbian-gay infrastructure for decades now. The large gay communities in Berlin, Cologne, Hamburg or Munich comprise countless clubs and many businesses, bars and nightclubs. Even in medium-sized cities a gay scene has developed. There are still anti-homosexual acts of violence and discrimination still occurs such as in industrial law or through threats of dismissal by the Catholic Church, through verbal slander by Catholic bishops or arch-conservative politicians. Even if in the last decades the acceptance of gay and lesbian ways of life has increased noticeably, homophobia seems once again on the rise. The important, long-lasting work in education about and acceptance for queer matters of the Lesbian and Gay Association (LSVD) and other organisations have decisively contributed to the surge of acceptance. For some time now, however, the LSVD had to increase its work (again) to fight homophobia. Classical holiday destinations can be found in many parts of Germany: The alpine region in the south of Bavaria and its romantic king's Ludwig I castles and the capital of beer Munich. The coasts of the North and Baltic Sea with their beaches and their offshore islands. The the Rhine valley in the west and its medieval castles and the epicentres of Carnival Cologne, Mainz and Duesseldorf. Saxony in the east and its capital Dresden that in is also called 'Elb-Florenz' (Florence on the Elbe river). All these places are also popular among queer travellers.
Cities in Germany
Location: Central Europe
International country code: 49 (omit 0 from area codes)
International access code: 00
Religions: 29% Roman Catholic, 29% Protestant
Climate: Winters can be quite cold and summers are generally warm and humid. Best time for a visit is from April to October.