On June 30, 2017, the Germany Parliament (the Bundestag) voted to legalize same-sex marriage and many LGBTQ publications prematurely announced that Germany had legalized same-sex marriage even though the actual law still required an Upper House vote and the signature of the German President, Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
Well, today Steinmeier finally signed the measure into law, allowing same-sex marriages to start as early as Oct. 1, 2017.
Germany is better than the U.S. when it comes to protecting same-sex couples
Unlike the United States, Germany has nationwide laws protecting same-sex married couples from discrimination in the workplace and public accommodations (that is, businesses offering goods and services), meaning that a couple that gets married in October won’t have to worry about losing their job or getting barred from places of businesses the very day.
Germany’s far-right party promised to stop same-sex marriage
It remains to be seen whether Germany’s extreme-right Alternative for Deutschland (AFD) political party (which is led by a lesbian) will follow through on its promise to institute a legal challenge to stop same-sex marriage dead in its tracks.
Since 2003, Germany has offered a form of same-sex civil unions called “registered life partnerships” which give same-sex couples many of the same rights as heterosexual married couples including tax benefits, alimony, health insurance, hospital and prison visitation and inheritance rights.
However, the AFD party claims that the new same-sex marriage law lacks key provisions explaining how these same-sex civil unions will convert into full-fledged marriages. They had planned to issue a complaint to the country’s Federal Constitutional Court, but the AFD may lack the legal standing to challenge the law since any anti-marriage challenge would have to come from a member of the federal government, a parliament member or a German state.
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