Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel has ruled out a joint adoption law for gay and lesbian couples. In a Q&A session with possible voters on public broadcasting channel ARD, Merkel on Monday said that she was against discrimination: “People in same sex relationships also live values.”
But asked about her opposition on gay adoption by a gay man in the audience, Merkel said she was “unsure” about giving gays and lesbians the right to adopt, stating that she herself would not bring a motion forward in this matter.
Since this spring, gays and lesbians can legally adopt the adopted child of their registered partner; they were already able to adopt their partner’s own child for several years. Civil unions or Lebenspartnerschaften were first introduced in 2001, at the beginning with far more dutys than rights.
The right to successive adoption was imposed on Merkel’s governing coalition by Germany’s supreme court, like several rights in the last years including equality in taxation. The Bundesverfassungsgericht ruled over and over again that it could not find differences between civil unions and marriages that could justify a different treatment. The adoption law in question would also legally benefit the child.
Joint adoption for gay and lesbian couples will be before Germany’s highest court within the next years. Merkel said in the television debate that a court decision might bring the change the gay man in the audience asked for.
When pressed by him why she opposed this right, Merkel’s only argument was the benefit of the child. She might “come across as old-fashioned”, Merkel said, but that’s the way she truly felt about the topic. She said that she had many discussions about this with gays and lesbians in her party, the Christian Democrats, and with her coalition partner and Germany’s foreign minister Guido Westerwelle (Liberals), who is openly gay and lives in a civil union.
All other parties represented in the Bundestag, including the Liberals, support full adoption rights for gays and lesbians and also want to introduce marriage equality. Whilst there is a majority for these measures in the Bundesrat, the legislative body representing the federal states, a majority in the Bundestag is only of a theoretical nature: With Merkel’s Christian Democrats still leading the polls before the elections on the 22nd of September width a huge lead, her party would still be able to block legislation that a coalition partner might fancy.
Merkel’s opposition to LGBT rights is well known, her rejection of adoption rights is also consistent. But this has been the first time she had to speak about the topic for several minutes on live television, clearly struggling to state her case. With some parts of the population falsely thinking that gays and lesbians already have equal laws this might change how she is viewed in public.
- Merkel: Mit mir keine Gleichstellung (09.09.2013)