German army to compensate LGBTQ community for years of discrimination

WION Web Team
Munich, Germany Published: Nov 27, 2020, 12.47 PM(IST)

German army Photograph:( Reuters )

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'The ministry will also fight for the soldiers who were dismissed and denied opportunities and promotions

Germany has decided to make up for decades of discrimination that the LGBTQ community serving in the country's army. The cabinet has approved legislation that will provide compensation to gay servicepeople.

This decision has been taken months after the country's Defence Ministry published a study that talked about the systematic discrimination faced by the LGBTQ community in the Bundeswehr — the military of West Germany and since 1990 of reunited Germany — from 1955 until 2000. The Defence Minister Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer had also issued an apology to the whole community, on behalf of the country.

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It was revealed in the study that the "same-sex orientation was viewed as a security risk in the Bundeswehr until the turn of the millennium and made a career as an officer or noncommissioned officer impossible." 

As per the newly-approved legislation, the affected soldiers will be rehabilitated and the legislation will be, hopefully, lifting of military court verdicts imposed for consensual gay sex, with 3,000 euros ($3,560) in compensation being paid for each of those verdicts. The ministry will also fight for the soldiers who were dismissed and denied opportunities and promotions.

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“I know that we can't make up for the personal injustice they suffered but, with the lifting of verdicts and the payment of lump-sum compensation, we want to send a signal — a small signal — of redress, to restore the dignity of these people who wanted nothing other than to serve Germany,” Kramp-Karrenbauer said.

The discrimination had come to light when the country's defence minister in 2000, Rudolf Scharping, raised his voice against the decision of removing an officer due to his sexual orientation. Scharping had said, "homosexuality does not constitute grounds for restrictions in terms of assignment or status and thus also is not a suitability criterion to be examined separately."

The legislation still needs approval from the German parliament, which the Defence Minister hopes will be provided keeping in mind the years of discrimination the community has faced.

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