Berlin Pride celebrates same-sex marriage approval
Berlin Pride had reason to celebrate their Christopher Street Day parade this year with the approval of same-sex marriage in Germany.
Last Saturday, members of the LGBT community waved rainbow-colored flags and wore multicolored flowers around their necks or bright bows in their hair as they marched through the streets of Berlin.
Marking Berlin Pride with the legalization of same-sex marriage
The marchers had an especially important reason to celebrate Berlin Pride this year with the parliament of Germany, the Bundestag, supporting the legalization of same-sex marriage in the country in a vote, 393 to 226.
This means Germany is now aligned with other nations (like France, Britain, and Spain) that also support same-sex marriage. Currently, there are around 20 countries where same-sex marraige is legal.
Germany’s President Frank-Walter Steinmeier signed the “marriage for all” bill on Thursday. The law is set to take effect on October 1.
One marcher, Marco Hirscher, told the New York Times the event was a “huge party for our rights.”
“It feels like we can go out and show who we are, like we are today, and it’s just amazing. We don’t need to hide,” another reveler, Pia Ernsberger, said.
“Same sex marriage is a step in the right direction but there is still a lot to do,” Samuel Monars-Bellmont, a third marcher, told Reuters.
Activists and lawmakers would agree, as they said the next steps involve revisiting the German Constitution’s anti-discrimination views to support protections on sexual orientation and gender identity.
“We don’t just want the same law. We want the same constitutional protections,” Axel Hochrein said, a board member of the Lesbian and Gay Federation (LGF) in Germany.
For Berlin Pride, Christopher Street Day marks the time of the New York riots in 1969 when police raided a gay bar and sparked the battle for LGBT rights. Germany has been celebrating this day since 1979.
Members of the LGBT community around the world– like Venezuela and Russia– also took part in Germany’s celebration of Pride.
Berlin Pride and the future of LGBT rights in Germany
Some members of the conservative bloc have expressed their opposition to the law and have proposed filing a case with the German Constitutional Court.
“In order to achieve legal clarity, I suggest that the Constitutional Court should be called upon,” Johannes Singhammer, vice president of the Bundestag and a member of the Bavarian Christian Socialist Union.
“It would be faster, however, if a state government were to do this — for example, the Bavarian government,” Singhammer said.
However, activists aren’t worried. Polling indicates a strong majority of Germans for equality and Hochrein said the conservative bloc is going to move to other issues post-September.
“They are trying to show their voters, before the election, that yes, they do oppose this law, but after the election we are convinced this topic will disappear from their agenda,” Mr. Hochrein told the New York Times.