German elections: Gay foreign minister loses seat, job

German elections: Gay foreign minister loses seat, job

Open Forum: Eurozone - Solidarity or Domination?: Guido Westerwelle

In the German national elections on Sunday chancellor Angela Merkel won a decisive victory but failed to reach an overall majority.

Final results give Merkel’s conservative party 311 out of 630 seats in the Bundestag. The CDU/CSU alliance now has to form a coalition government with either the Social Democrats (192 seats) or the Greens (63 seats). The Left Party gained 64 seats, but all other parties have ruled out working with the socialists. The election has consequences for some prominent gay politicians.

The liberal party of foreign minister Guido Westerwelle lost two thirds of their share and only reached 4.8 percent – five percent are needed to enter parliament. This resulted in Westerwelle losing his seat in parliament, which he held since 1996, and his job as foreign minister. Westerwelle, who lives in a registered partnership and was coalition partner to Merkel for the last four years, has always been critisized for not caring about gay rights in Germany and abroad.

Volker Beck

Volker Beck

Compared to polls some months ago the Green Party was disappointed with its result. Prominent LGBT activist Volker Beck, who is credited with being the driving force behind Germany’s Civil Union law, on Monday resigned from his job as chief whip. He said he will focus on his civil rights work as MP. In the days leading up to the election an old book manuscript written by Beck in the Eighties has emerged, showing his former support for the legalization of sexual contacts between adults and children. While he has distanced himself from these views over the years he had always stated that the book entry had been wrongly edited. The manuscript shows that this is not the case.

The Lesben- und Schwulenverband (LSVD), the largest German LGBT association, had called on Germans not to vote for Merkel’s CDU/CSU, because it is the only parliamentary group that opposes the introduction of gay marriage. In a television debate Merkel also spoke out against gay adoption. But the topic did not play a huge role in the election campaign and Merkel might get ordered to introduce gay adoption by Germany’s Supreme Court, like many other rights for gay and lesbian couples before.

The new Bundestag will have seven openly gay and two openly lesbian legislators. In addition, Merkel’s environment minister Peter Altmaier had been outed by the media but refuses to talk about his sexual orientation.

Original story:

Photos: World Economic Forum (1, cc by sa), Green Party (1)

Leave a reply