• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Five ways Germany falls short on gay rights

Emma Anderson · 30 Apr 2015, 08:39

Published: 30 Apr 2015 08:39 GMT+02:00
Updated: 30 Apr 2015 08:39 GMT+02:00

1. Gay marriage is still not legal
A civil union in Germany. Photo: DPA.

Same-sex couples may enter into a civil union, which entails many of the same rights as a heterosexual marriage, but many rights have been won within individual court cases rather than by top-down legislation.

This makes Germany stand out when compared to its western European allies who have passed same-sex marriage legislation, like France and the United Kingdom.

Most of Germany’s border states have also legalized gay marriage, such as the Netherlands which passed same-sex marriage legislation nearly 15 years ago, making it the first country in the world to do so.

2. Raising a kid together can be tricky

Photo: Shutterstock.

Germany has allowed stepchild adoption among same-sex partners since 2005, meaning if one person already has a biological child, the other partner may adopt the child, but the two may not adopt a child together.

Since a 2013 constitutional court ruling, same-sex partners may also adopt a child after their partner has already adopted the child, in what is called ‘successive adoption’. Still, many have criticized the court decision because it means that couples still cannot jointly adopt.

Again, Germany falls behind in this regard. The Netherlands, France, Belgium, Spain, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Iceland all allow same-sex couples to adopt children together.

3. Politicians may be less tolerant than the public

While polls have shown the German public to be quite tolerant of homosexuality, gay marriage proponents have harshly criticized the two major conservative parties in the Bundestag (German parliament) for being resistant to legalization.

One Green party politician recently said the parties had fallen behind mainstream public opinion.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and its Bavarian sister party the Christian Social Union (CSU) have continued to block same-sex marriage bills proposed by opposition parties.

Merkel once told Bild newspaper that she did not favour giving gay couples the same tax rights as heterosexual ones because the constitution "sees marriage directly linked to the family and both are under the special protection of the state".

But Germany actually came in second, just behind Spain, in the most recent Pew Research Center study in 2013 on tolerance of homosexuality, with 87 percent of respondents saying they agreed that homosexuality should be accepted in society.

Only 60 percent of US respondents said "yes" to the same statement.

In another study released earlier this month, the United States was rated slightly more tolerant towards LGBT people than Germany.

In Germany, 70 percent of respondents answered “yes” to the question: 'Is the city or area where you live a good place or not a good place to live for gay or lesbian people? Seventy-one percent of American respondents said “yes”.'

This placed Germany at 16th place for LGBT tolerance worldwide.

4. Gender “X” and transgender rightsPhoto: Shutterstock.

Germany became one of the first countries in the world in 2013 to provide a third gender option when parents first fill out a birth certificate for their intersex child. Before, parents had to decide within a week of birth whether their child was male or female and to register them as such.

Still, the third box “X”, alongside male and female, is not an officially recognized third gender and is instead intended specifically for intesex-born children or hermaphrodites - people born with gender-indeterminate bodies. The state expects them to ultimately live their lives as male or female in the future.

Up until as recently as 2011, people seeking to legally change their sex needed to show that they had undergone surgery to become infertile as well as to make them look significantly like the sex with which they identify.

Though such surgery is no longer required, people must still show proof of a medical diagnosis and have lived for at least three years as their identified sex.

5. Donating blood is bannedPhoto: DPA.

The US Food and Drug Administration announced a major decision in December to reverse its lifetime ban on gay men donating blood due to advanced screening methods, though men who have had sex with another man in the past 12 months will still be barred from donating.

In Germany men who have sex with other men are still indefinitely banned from donating blood, though the German Medical Association has called for the policies to be changed. Some federal states have also called for a lifting of the ban.

But a European Court of Justice ruling on Wednesday may offer an opportunity for change. The court said that a ban is only justified if there are no other available screening methods to protect blood recipients.

Germany's Lesbian and Gay Assosiation said in a statement that the ruling implies that a general ban on gay men is unjustified.

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Emma Anderson (emma.anderson@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
After rampages, Merkel says again: Wir schaffen das
Photo: DPA

Speaking for the first time after a Syrian refugee blew himself up in southern Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel reaffirmed her commitment to helping refugees on Thursday.

The Local List
Germany's five most mind-boggling conspiracy theories
What's the point of this mysterious tower at Tempelhof Airport? Photo: DPA.

Think that wacky paranoid types only exist in the USA? Here’s a few crazy German conspiracies to prove you wrong.

Munich shooting
Gunman's friend arrested for 'planning school attack'
File photo: DPA

Police found chemicals and instructions for making explosives, as well as evacuation plans of his school in the youth's possession.

Bremen mall evacuated due to escaped psychiatric patient
Police outside the mall. Photo: DPA

The man had reportedly made worrying statements relating to Isis and last week's shooting in Munich.

German ambassador to Turkey left out in cold
Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Photo: DPA

The Turkish government has been giving German ambassador Martin Erdmann the cold shoulder for weeks, after German parliamentarians passed a bill recognizing the Armenian genocide.

Ansbach suicide bomber was interviewed by Bulgarian TV
Photo: DPA

A Syrian who blew himself up outside a German music festival at the weekend was interviewed twice by Bulgarian television while living there in 2013, footage showed on Wednesday.

No injuries after blast near Bavarian migrant centre
A sign at the Zirndorf migrant centre. Photo: DPA

A suitcase, likely packed with aerosol cans, has blown up near a migrant centre on the outskirts of Nuremberg, causing no injuries, police confirm.

Not your average student digs: 'amazing' plastic bubble
Photo: DPA

Could this wacky experiment be the future of student housing?

Police settle train violence over smelly feet
Not the feet in question. Photo: Caitlin Regan/Flickr

A fellow passenger's foot odour proved too much for one traveller to stomach.

How Berliners are responding to the Bavaria attacks
Photo: DPA

Is fear of terrorism creeping up on the capital?

Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
DPA
Gallery
IN PICTURES: How Munich responded to shooting spree
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
Lifestyle
10 rookie errors all Brits make when they arrive in Germany
National
Bavaria train attack: Were police right to shoot to kill?
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
National
How to get German citizenship (or just stay forever)
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Technology
Brexit will turn Berlin into 'Europe’s startup capital'
Travel
Six soothing day trips to escape the bustle of Berlin
International
'Germany needs to make UK come to its senses'
Features
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
Features
How two gay dads cut through German red tape to start a family
Sponsored Article
Health insurance for expats in Germany: a quick guide
National
Five things to know about guns in Germany
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
Culture
10 things you need to know before attending a German wedding
National
Eight weird habits you'll pick up living in Germany
Lifestyle
Six reasons 'super-cool' Berlin isn't all it's cracked up to be
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Society
Only one country likes getting naked on the beach more than Germany
Lifestyle
23 ridiculously fascinating things you never knew about Berlin
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Culture
8 German words that perfectly sum up your 20s
Lifestyle
Can't make it past the door at Berlin's most famous club? Help is at hand
Business & Money
Why Frankfurt could steal London's crown as Europe's finance capital
Features
6 surprising things I learned about Germany while editing The Local
Culture
Five sure-fire ways to impress Germans with your manners
11,008
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd