Ireland vote builds gay marriage momentum

Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) is feeling the pressure from opposition MPs, its own gay supporters and its Social Democratic Party (SPD) allies to look again at allowing gay marriage after Ireland's popular "yes" vote on Friday.

Ireland vote builds gay marriage momentum
Photo: DPA

Linke (Left) party leader Gregor Gysi told the Süddeutsche Zeitung that the Irish decision came at a time of  “cultural revolution” that would have been “unimaginable” just a short time ago.

“There can't be any more delays,” Gysi said. “It's up to us to catch up.”

He was joined in his call by Green party leader Simone Peter, who said that Germany must “finally match” countries like France, Spain, Great Britain and Ireland which allow gay marriage.

But Justice Minister Heiko Maas of the SPD said that it would “unfortunately be difficult to achieve” gay marriage in the present CDU-SPD governing coalition.

While the cabinet plans to suggest some further steps towards equality at this week's meeting on Wednesday, conservatives have historically been against full marriage and especially equal rights for gay couples to adopt.

“The question of gay marriage is a highly political one which we would have to discuss widely in the CDU and Christian Social Union (CSU, the CDU's Bavarian Catholic sister party) if there was cause for change,” family policy spokesman and MP Marcus Weinberg said.

“We don't want a serious political question for the union to be wedged in halfway through the parliament.”

The CDU is already facing pressure from within its own ranks to change, with the Federation of Gays and Lesbians in the CDU calling for the party to change its tune.

“The clear 'yes' in Ireland is a signal. In Germany, something has to change in our party, too,” federation leader Alexander Vogt told Spiegel Online.

“Frau Merkel doesn't need to dash forward any more. She just needs to jump aboard the train.”


Merkel condemns Hungary’s LGBTQ law as ‘wrong’

German Chancellor Angela Merkel criticised a new law in Hungary banning LGBTQ educational content for children as "wrong" as a European row on the measure hotted up.

Merkel condemns Hungary's LGBTQ law as 'wrong'
Chancellor Angela Merkel speaking in the Bundestag on Wednesday. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Felix Schröder

“I consider this law to be wrong and incompatible with my understanding of politics,” Merkel said on Wednesday in response to a query from a far-right lawmaker at government question time in parliament.

The German leader said she saw it as a contradiction that “single-sex partnerships are allowed” in Hungary “but education about them is restricted”.

“That impacts freedom of education and such matters and is something I oppose politically,” she said.

It was likely Merkel’s final question and answer session in the Bundestag before she steps down at the federal election in September. 

Merkel was also quizzed on Germany’s Covid management where she reiterated that the pandemic “is not over yet”.

Rainbow flags across Germany

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen has condemned the Hungarian law as a “shame” that went against EU values, saying it “clearly discriminates against people on the basis of their sexual orientation”.

READ ALSO: Germany turns rainbow-coloured in protest at UEFA stadium ban

She said the Commission would raise legal concerns over the law with Budapest, and added: “I will use all the powers of the commission to ensure that the rights of all EU citizens are guaranteed whoever you are, and wherever you live.”

Merkel declined to be drawn on the Commission’s plans against Budapest, or on a disputed decision by UEFA refusing to allow the Munich stadium hosting Wednesday’s Germany-Hungary Euro 2020 match to light up in rainbow colours.

READ ALSO: UEFA refuses to light Munich stadium in rainbow colours for Germany-Hungary match

Munich city authorities had planned the display to “send a visible sign of solidarity” with Hungary’s LGBTQ community.

Fifteen of the EU’s member states have signed up to voice their “grave concern” at the LGBTQ law that Budapest argues will protect children.