The lower house of the German Parliament [official website] voted 393-226 Friday to legalize same-sex marriage. The decision came shortly after Chancellor Angela Merkel [official website] changed her conservative stance [NYT report] on the issue. Although Merkel voted against the move she encouraged lawmakers to vote with their conscience instead of along party lines. Before allowing civil unions in 2001, Germany had a history [Reuters report] of anti-homosexual legislation. Earlier this month the German Parliament passed a bill [JURIST report] to compensate thousands of individuals who had been persecuted and imprisoned for their sexuality. The law under which the individuals had been convicted is paragraph 175 [text] of Germany’s criminal code, and was put in place in 1871. The scope of the law was broadened under the Nazi regime, and was used to convict men as recently as 1967. Homosexuality was decriminalized in West Germany in 1969. Germany is the 23rd country to legalize same-sex marriage and joins over a dozen European nations including Britain, France, Ireland and Spain. The measure was passed during Parliament’s final session before summer recess.
In May Taiwan’s constitutional court, the Judicial Yuan [official website], declared [JURIST report] that same-sex marriages will be legally recognized. Despite the increase in countries ruling in favor of same-sex marriage [Reuters map], many are still prosecuted around the world for engaging in homosexual relationships. In April Nigerian prosecutors in Kaduna charged 53 men [JURIST report] for celebrating an LGBTQ wedding in violation of the state’s law against ‘unlawful assembly’ and the Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Act [text]. A day earlier the Human Rights Watch [advocacy website] and other advocacy groups urged [JURIST report] UN Secretary General to investigate alleged abuse against LGBT people in Chechnya. According to the open letter about 100 gay and bisexual men have been detained, went missing, were tortured, or were murdered under the authority of Chechen officials. Also in April A UK high court stayed the extradition [JURIST report] of a gay British man, Rosslee Charles, to Turkey given concerns over his safety. In March Germany Justice Minister Heiko Maas [official profile] announced that the country’s cabinet has approved a measure [JURIST report] to pardon and provide compensation to approximately 50,000 men convicted under a Nazi-era law against homosexuality.