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President Obama Gets Big Cheer for Mention of Gay Rights in Berlin: VIDEO

Berlin_obama

President Obama is in Berlin today and gave a major speech at the Brandenburg Gate. Though the speech was wide-ranging in what it covered, he received huge cheers at the mention of gay and lesbian rights.

Said Obama:

I'd suggest that peace with justice begins with the example we set here at home, for we know from our own histories that intolerance breeds injustice.  Whether it's based on race, or religion, gender or sexual orientation, we are stronger when all our people -- no matter who they are or what they look like -- are granted opportunity, and when our wives and our daughters have the same opportunities as our husbands and our sons.  (Applause.) 

When we respect the faiths practiced in our churches and synagogues, our mosques and our temples, we're more secure.  When we welcome the immigrant with his talents or her dreams, we are renewed.  (Applause.)  When we stand up for our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters and treat their love and their rights equally under the law, we defend our own liberty as well.  We are more free when all people can pursue their own happiness.  (Applause.)  And as long as walls exist in our hearts to separate us from those who don’t look like us, or think like us, or worship as we do, then we're going to have to work harder, together, to bring those walls of division down.

I've cued it up to the portion transcribed above, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Germany's Top Court Grants Tax Equality To Same-Sex Couples

A-gay-couple-hold-hands-duing-their-wedding-ceremony-on-July-30-2010.-AFP

The Federal constitutional Court in Karlsruhe ruled today that treating civil unions and marriages differently for tax purposes is "unequal treatment because of sexual orientation," and thus violates the country's guarantee of equal rights for its citizens. The court saw right to the heart of the matter:

The court acknowledged that married couples enjoy special privileges because the partners also accept a strong responsibility for each other, including financial, but it argued that the civil union implies the same duties and responsibilities for gay partners.

As a result the court has ordered that the laws be amended retroactively back to 2001 when the civil union status was first introduced, and in turn the government has vowed to pass legislation by this fall to implement the court's decision. 

German citizens largely do not regard gay couples as a controversial issue which stands in stark contrast to the citizens of France, who have repsonded to the issue of gay marriage with protests, marches, and extreme instances of violence.

(via the AP)


German High Court Takes 'Historic' Step to Strengthen Adoption Rights for Gay Couples

Germany's top court made a historic ruling on Tuesday, the AP reports:

GermanyThe Federal Constitutional Court ruled that one member of a civil partnership should be able to adopt the partner’s stepchild or adopted child. Until now, they could only adopt a partner’s biological child.

Deutsche Welle adds:

It ruled that same-sex couples could provide for a child as well as couples in a traditional marriage.

"In marriage as in a civil partnership, adoption provides the child with legal security and material advantages in terms of care, support and inheritance law," presiding judge Ferdinand Kirchof told the court.

The ruling followed a legal challenge from a woman who was forbidden from adopting a Bulgarian-born child whom her female partner had adopted.

Tuesday's decision does not alter legislation, however, which forbids same-sex couples jointly adopting a child. They may still only adopt the same child on an individual basis.


Towleroad Guide to the Tube #1288

POWER WALKING: Eliot Glazer and Kate McKinnon show you how it's done.

GERMANY: A zoo sees the birth of some rare white lion cubs.

THE POWER OF THOUGHT: You mean we can just think about working out?

THE HEIST: Robbers tunneled into a bank safe deposit room in Berlin.

For recent Guides to the Tube, click HERE.


Taiwan's Ministry Of Justice Researching Marriage Equality In Asia

TaipeiWell aware that marriage equality is the wave of the future, Taiwan's government is enlisting academics to look into how to integrate same-sex nuptials or unions into the country's laws and traditions.

The initial research, organized by the Ministry of Justice, looked West to Germany, Canada and France, but activists demanded the government look closer to home, the Taipei Times reports.

[Chung Jui-lan, deputy director-general of the ministry’s Department of Legal Affairs] said the ministry decided to study Asian countries’ attitudes to same-sex marriage after critics of such unions questioned why the ministry had left Asian countries out of its May study, given that they are more similar to Taiwan than Western nations.

The study will also cover topics such as whether to revise the Civil Code if same-sex marriage if legalized or if passing a civil partnership act would be more viable than outright legalization, Chung said.

...

The report released by the ministry in May concluded that the Registered Same-Sex Partnership Regime adopted by Germany offers “a better common ground and a compromise solution between the marriage equality groups and those who are opposed to same-sex marriages.”

The system initially gave unequal rights to same-sex registered partners compared with married couples, but has improved the rights of the former through amendments to the law over the years.

As the Ministry of Justice launches this study, a court is considering whether gay couple Kao Chih-wei and Nelson Chen, whose 2006 wedding remains unrecognized, can go ahead with a lawsuit against the ban. If they win the suit, they'll be the first same-sex married couple in relatively liberal Taiwan, the paper notes.


German Chancellor Angela Merkel Expresses Support for Anonymous Gay Footballer Afraid to Come Out

A gay German pro footballer, in an interview with the web publication Fluter, said that he's afraid to come out of the closet for fear of his safety, prompting a response from Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Said the footballer: Germansports_homophobia

"The price I pay for living my dream as a Bundesliga player is high. I have to be an actor every day and go into self-denial. Unlike other celebrities, football players have to follow the footballer stereotype. They have to love sports, fight aggressively and be a role model at the same time. And gays don't follow that formula. I would not be safe any more if my sexuality was made public. I know of other Bundesliga players who are gay as well. We don't meet - it would just be too noticeable. It is a difficult parallel universe which continues inside the team. We don't talk about it much, nevertheless everyone knows about it. They sometimes ask me about my partner. I know all their stories from the papers, but they have to ask me to find out."

ESPN reports:

The player, who spoke to Fluter, said he, along with several other players in Germany's top division, is gay and explained: "I have to be an actor every day and go into self-denial."

His remarks led Merkel, speaking at a press conference in Berlin, to say: "You need not fear. I am of the opinion that everyone who has the strength and courage [to come out] should know that we live in a state where he essentially does not have to be fearful. That is my political statement."

The NYT adds:

He said he felt compelled to “put on an act and deny his true self” to square his public image with the expectations of fans, who are after a “stereotype of masculinity.” He also said the news media circus all but certain to ensue in the first few weeks after the first coming out of an active player was a major deterrent to going public.

Image: a German campaign fighting homophobia in sports featured two players kissing, and read: “Would you also beat up your favorite player for this?”


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