We are talking about something very basic today: love. A political discussion on such a topic should actually be something bright and unifying. However: It is not. That is because some human beings are deprived of their right to love.
We have heard it: In about 70 countries homosexuality is still a crime. In some it is under death penalty. In many, LGBTI people face severe discrimination.
Without question, there also has been a lot of progress over the last two decades. When I finished school in 2000, there was a single country in the world that had legally recognized same-sex couples: Denmark. Now there are almost 30.
However, we’re currently seeing a backlash on LGBTI rights. That means: We must reinforce our fight for equal human rights.
And this is precisely what we are talking about: human rights. They are not a footnote of politics. The acknowledgment of human rights is one of the most essential advancements in human history. It is crucial to assert them. And it is possible:
- We are seeing a rise of systematic attacks against LGBTI defenders. That is not acceptable.
- We must continue to update our legislation. In Germany we have just prohibited so called conversion treatments. But a lot more needs to be done: for example, a modern family law that strengthens the rights of lesbian mothers.
- And: We have to address multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination. All too often, minorities are played off against each other.
Discrimination is never acceptable – be it on the ground of gender, ethnicity or religion.
For Germany the fight against discrimination and for equal rights is a cornerstone of our foreign policy. In that endeavor we’re closely working together with civil society.
Therefore, I thank you all for your participation in this event. And I would also like to pass on the best wishes of my dear colleague Michael Roth. Many of you will certainly know how extremely committed he is to fight for equal rights.
I would like to finish by inviting you all to a conference we’re organizing on 18/19 November in Berlin in the framework of our EU Council Presidency.
It’s about “Lived Realities of Lesbian Women and the Recognition of Rainbow Families”.
Together, we are stronger. Together we can make change happen.
Let’s start now.