A Collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh
advertisement

Germany same-sex marriage law takes effect

[JURIST] Germany's new same-sex marriage law took effect on Sunday, allowing Karl Kreile and Bodo Mende, a couple for 38 years, to be the first same-sex couple to marry in the country. The couple was married in a civil ceremony at the town hall in Schöneberg, Berlin.

The law, which had strong public support, was enacted [JURIST report] in June by a large margin, making Germany the fifteenth European nation to legalize same-sex marriage after Chancellor Angela Merkel [official website] changed her conservative stance [NYT report] on the issue and asked lawmakers to vote with their conscience, instead of party lines.

Prior to this law's enactment, Germany allowed civil unions between same-sex couples since 2001, but the unions did not offer couples the same legal rights and were considered by many to be a second-class form of marriage. The new law gives same-sex couples many of the same rights traditionally given to heterosexual couples, such as allowing same-sex couples to adopt children [NYT report]. Prior to the law, same-sex couples in civil unions were allowed to adopt the biological child of his or her partner, but a legally recognized couple was not allowed to adopt.

The law marks change for Germany, as the country has a long history [Reuters report] of enacted anti-homosexual legislation. In 1871, homosexuals were convicted under paragraph 175 [text] of Germany's criminal code, which was later broadens under the Nazi regime. Homosexuality was not decriminalized until 1969.

There are about 43,000 registered partnerships [AP report] in Germany in 2015, and most are expected to be converted into marriages.

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.