Germany’s President Just Signed Same-Sex Marriage Into Law

Germany’s President Just Signed Same-Sex Marriage Into Law

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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.

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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.


Featured image by franckreporter via iStock

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