Germany to overturn convictions of prosecuted gay men

germany to pardon men convicted of homosexuality

 

 

The German cabinet has agreed to back a bill overturning the convictions of men prosecuted or imprisoned for being gay after the Second World War.

Gay men convicted between between 1949 and 1969, and who are still alive, will be pardoned and are likely to get financial compensation.

The men were punished under Germany’s notorious Paragraph 175 which prohibited “sexual acts contrary to nature”.

The law was introduced in 1871, strengthened by the Nazis, and remained as law in East Germany until 1969. Although the law was relaxed in West Germany it still remained on the statute book until 1994, after the reunification of Germany.

The justice ministry estimates that about 68,300 people were convicted under Paragraph 175 in both German states.

Justice Minister Heiko Maas said: “The rehabilitation of men who ended up in court simply because of their homosexuality is long overdue.

“They were persecuted, punished and ostracised by the German state just because of their love for men, because of their sexual identity.”

The German cabinet’s decision follows the Alan Turing law in the UK in 2017 when approximately 50,000 men were given posthumous pardons for having consensual gay sex.