Now that Ireland has voted in favour of gay marriage in a referendum, the pressure on the German government to give same-sex couples the same rights as straight couples has increased. Germany still has not implemented gay marriage, and even a registered partnership has limitations.
Gay couples in Germany are put at a disadvantage in over 150 regulations and 50 acts, compared to married individuals. The German opposition has increased the pressure on the federal government to implement gay marriage after the Irish ‘yes’. Government party SPD is in favour, but it is a sensitive subject with Angela Merkel's party CDU/CSU. Many Christian-democrats see marriage as something that is reserved for husband and wife.
In 2001, the red-green Schröder government introduced registered partnership, the Lebenspartnerschaftsgesetz, for gay couples. This arrangement is not available to straight couples in Germany. They can only make their relationship official through marriage. This registered partnership does not give gay couples the same rights as straight couples. They are not allowed to adopt, and are put at a disadvantage, for instance when it comes to succession.
In 2013, several polls revealed that a majority of the CDU/CSU voters are actually in favour of equal rights for homosexuals and heterosexuals. Prominent CDU politicians have announced being gay or are advocating adoption by gay couples. The LSU, the gay movement in the CDU, now has more influence in the party than some years ago.
Full equality is unfortunately hard to realise in a coalition with CDU/CSU, SPD Minister of Justice Heiko Maas said. In the current coalition agreement, CDU/CSU and SPD have agreed to end the discrimination of gay couples. But in practice, the CDU/CSU slows the process down. Tax benefits for associations committed to marriage and families, should also apply to those committed to gay couples, but the Christian-democrats stopped the bill last year. Gay rights have mostly been boosted by the Constitutional Court, and not by Merkel's government.
Chancellor Angela Merkel makes things worse by being against gay marriage. She said so in an interview with YouTuber Florian Mundt. She also said that she has nothing against partnership contracts. Merkel, who was married twice, said that Germany came a long way, as 25 years ago, many people found it difficult to come out of the closet. But she also thinks that marriage is something exclusively for a man and a woman. "Personally, I believe that a marriage consists of a man and a woman living together. That is how I see it, but I also support other forms of cohabitation."
The German leader wants to put a stop to discrimination and promotes equality, but does “make a distinction in one particular area". Last May, the Chancellor dismissed the implementation of same-sex marriage in Germany after the referendum in Ireland.