Today Germany became the 23rd country to legalize same sex marriage. This is clearly fantastic news, as Germany, a country that once incarcerated and subsequently murdered gays alongside Jews, steps into a new era of LGBT+ acceptance. But let’s not forget, this is a dipped toe in a vast ocean. Homophobia is well and truly still alive, as Germany’s very own Chancellor Angela Merkel voted against the equal marriage law being passed. The vote was a snap vote, meaning there was no whip or obligation – you voted how you actually wanted to. Despite Merkel’s opposition to the law, however, equal marriage won by a clear majority, by 393 votes to 226.
“I hope that the vote today not only promotes respect between different opinions but also brings more social cohesion and peace,” Merkel said, mere minutes after casting a vote against equal marriage. This seems to reflect an often seen dichotomy within politicians, with them not being able to say what they actually think and instead offering up some trite comment about “social cohesion”. Though apparently, she did actually say “marriage is between a man and a woman” seconds prior to offering up that saccharine lie. I’m not suggesting it would have been better if the ole Angie M had stood up and said “actually, I think gays are pretty disgusting TBH and I’m really disappointed”, but at least in that scenario she’d have been fully honest rather than cowering behind some cliche.
There’s a trend of politicians using media to help them maintain a projection of themselves – we saw it on the anniversary of Jo Cox’s death where lots of people across the U.K. got together for a party in celebration of what we have in common. This was wonderful, apart from David Cameron’s looming face appearing on the TV offering up a vapid quote about togetherness. Funnily enough, this happened a few days after the Grenfell fire – something him and his party (when he was leader) could’ve prevented. It almost felt like he was saying, “you can’t be angry with me anymore because I said this thing about unity and it’ll make you look petty if you aren’t nice to me! HAHAHAHAH fuck you!” Needless to say, I was still angry with him.
So I’m still angry with Angela Merkel. It’s truly wonderful that Germany has legalized equal marriage – though it is about damn time – but we can’t ignore the fact that Germany’s Chancellor herself desperately disagrees with it. It’s the same in the U.S. and the U.K. – both have leaders who have actively campaigned against LGBTQ+ rights in their respective countries. Trump, well… You know how terrible he is. And Theresa May? Well, where to start! She allegedly has attend a gay cure church, voted against reducing the age of consent for homosexuals, voted against the gay adoption bill, refused to vote on all for gender recognition bills that would allow same sex couples to stay legally partnered if one of them changed gender, and voted in favor of forcing clinics to consider the need for a “father and mother” before allowing women to seek IVF treatment. Though she claims to have changed her mind about gay adoption, her record is fairly clear: she couldn’t give two claps about the LGBTQ+ community.
Though I hope the LGBTQ+ community in Germany don’t let the “against” votes ruin their day – today, acceptance and equal love won. Legalizing gay marriage is such a huge step in the right direction on the path of simply letting people be what they want to be. Because let’s be real: LGBTQ+ acceptance isn’t just about letting gay people get married. It’s about everything. It’s about human lives, it’s about letting people thrive, and not making them feel like they’ve got something to apologize for because they weren’t born “normal”. There’s still a fight ahead of us. And after all, what doesn’t kill you only makes you gayer.