Germany Steps Closer To Wiping Historic Gay Sex Convictions


German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet has approved a bill that would quash the convictions of thousands of gay men under the country’s historic law criminalising homosexuality.

Those still alive who were convicted under the country’s so-called Paragraph 175 will also be eligible to receive financial compensation from the government.

Men convicted of homosexuality under the Nazi regime had their convictions overturned in 2002. But as the laws remained after the war, some 50,000 men were persecuted from 1949 until 1969. Homosexuality wasn’t decriminalized nationwide until 1994.

“The rehabilitation of men who ended up in court purely because of their homosexuality is long overdue,” Justice Minister Heiko Maas (pictured, left) said.

“They were persecuted, punished and ostracized by the German state just because of their love for men, because of their sexual identity.

“The strength of a state of law is reflected in having the strength to correct its own mistakes. We have not just the right but the obligation to act.”

The Telegraph reported the legislation, which still needs parliamentary approval, and sets out compensation of 3,000 euros for each conviction, plus 1,500 euros for every year of jail time the convicted men served.

A spokesperson for Germany’s Lesbian and Gay Federation told The Telegraph they “welcome the fact that, after long decades of ignorance, legal consequences are being drawn from the serious mass human rights violations that were committed against homosexual people by the democratic state.”

Last month UK laws came into effect giving deceased men with similar convictions automatic pardons and allowing living men to apply to have theirs quashed.

New Zealand has also announced plans to pardon men with such convictions, and in Australia, legislation was introduced in Victoria in 2014 to do the same, and last May Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews apologised to men unjustly convicted of homosexuality.

In November, the Queensland government released draft legislation to parliament to quash gay sex convictions held by Queensland men.

(Angela Merkel photo by Olaf Kosinsky / Wikipedia)