Germany passes landmark bill for gay rights
Daniel Gaskin, Staff Writer
August 31, 2012
Filed under World & Nation
A new dawn for Germany has come in the form of a revolutionary tax exemption that gives homosexual couples the same tax rates as heterosexuals. The bill was created on Aug. 8 and has granted more rights for gay couples in Germany.
The new provisions include that legal unions, or what Germany refers to as “registered partnerships,” are exempt from the country’s land transfer tax, just like straight married couples.
The bill was fought with vigor from certain right-leaning groups, which argued that homosexuality is against the tenements of marriage. They contest the legislation under the pretense that marriage exists to produce children, which gay couples cannot do in the traditional manner.
Critics of the law raised their concerns about gay marriage through various media outlets. According to a German news interview, the Christian Social Union’s leader and whip in Germany’s parliament, Gerda Hasselfeldt stated, “The marriage of man and woman is under special protection because it is fundamentally oriented toward creating new life. This is not the case in homosexual relationships.”
To combat this point of view, the leftist Kristina Schröder, Germany’s minister for family affairs, has signaled support for the push saying, “The suggestion comes at exactly the right time. In homosexual partnerships, people take long-term responsibility for each other. They are living conservative values,” she told German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung.
This is not a new concept in Germany, as German gay activists have a history of fighting for their rights. While Americans can relate with the German fight for equality, the U.S. fight remains on a different plane.
Professor Jack Zerbe commented on why Germany has achieved equal rights for same sex couples before the U.S.
“Seventy-six percent of youth today believe gays should have equal rights. In time, we’ll get there, but you can’t legislate shifts in attitude.”
Guilford junior Chad Norton said, “I think it’s great for the German people that they are gaining equal rights, but I wish America could follow suit in a similar way.”
For now, Germans have reason to celebrate. An example of same sex couple equality has been displayed for the world. German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle not long ago publicly announced his homosexual orientation and is a leader in the fight for gay rights in Germany. This motion is on the beginning of a movement toward total social equality.