Germany parliament passes law compensating gay and lesbian soldiers for past discrimination
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Germany parliament passes law compensating gay and lesbian soldiers for past discrimination

The German parliament Thursday voted in favor of the rehabilitation and compensation of soldiers who have faced discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation.

Until the year 2000, German military policy held that gay soldiers posed a threat to discipline and were not eligible to be superior officers. For many years gay soldiers were denied promotions, discharged from service, and could even face criminal conviction because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. The new law entitles soldiers who were discriminated against to have their convictions expunged from the record, as well as some token financial compensation, setting aside a fund of 6 million euros.

Defense minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer addressed parliament before the vote, saying that they had a duty to support individuals who had been discriminated against. She later tweeted that this move shows the German army is more open and tolerant today.

The Lesbian and Gay Association in Germany released a statement saying the new law was an important step toward justice but decried the fact that the law does not go far enough. They contend the compensation is only symbolic and does not go far enough. The law also does not address all the discrimination that has taken place, noting that it only covers discrimination that happened before July 3, 2000.