The leaders of the three political parties forming a new grand coalition government in Germany on Wednesday signed a preliminary agreement that gay rights activists call “disapointing”.
The conservative Christian Democrats (CDU), its Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), and the Social Democrats (SPD) agreed upon a chapter entitled “Respect Sexual Identity”. However, it mainly includes non-binding statements of intent. It does not include marriage equality or further equalization of the rights of gay domestic partners with heterosexual spouses.
During the election campaign, the conservative parties were the only major parties to oppose marriage equality. Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) has repeatedly stated that her party would not introduce gay marriage or grant gay couples the right to adopt children, even though a clear majority of Germans support these demands and Germany’s Constitutional Court is expected to rule in favour of full adoption rights in the near future.
The Social Democrats as well as the socialist Left Party, the Green Party and Merkel’s former coalition party, the Liberals, have supported equality. In theory, gay rights issues have a majority in the next Bundestag. But as in the previous parliament there will be no free vote. There were some improvements in the last four years, but they were mostly dictaded by the Constitutional Court.
German LGBT group LSVD has criticised the agreement. Gay activists point fingers at the SPD, because the party has promised “100 per cent equality” during the election campaign. SPD party members still have to approve the agreement with a simple majority.