Chancellor Angela Merkel
Despite growing pressure to legalise same-sex marriage across Europe, the German government says it has no plans to do so.
While registered life partnerships for same-sex couples were implemented in 2001, offering most of the same rights as heterosexual marriages, full marriage equality is still not a reality in Germany.
Last week’s overwhelming vote in favour of same-sex marriage in Ireland, however, has sent shock-waves through those European nations that have not moved forward on the issue.
Reuters reports that on Wednesday Germany added “small” additional benefits to registered same-sex partnerships.
Chancellor Angela Merkel and her Christian Democratic Union party nevertheless remain opposed to full marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples.
“Today was an important milestone in dismantling discrimination and the chancellor is pleased about that,” said Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert, about the changes.
He added, however, that “same-sex marriages are not a goal of this government.”
The position is out of touch with popular opinion in Germany; up to 75% of the public is in favour of marriage equality.
With 14 European countries now having legalised same-sex marriage, the once ground-breaking Germany risks falling behind when it comes to social progress on the continent.