The German presidency approved on Wednesday (25) legislation that would compensate homosexual soldiers who suffered discrimination in the armed forces before a policy change 20 years ago. The information is from the AP.
The decision comes two months after Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, filed an apology for decades of discrimination.
A study commissioned by his ministry documented “systematic discrimination” in the Bundeswehr– the West German military and since 1990 in reunified Germany – from 1955 to 2000.
The study said that “same-sex orientation was seen as a security risk in the Bundeswehr until the turn of the millennium and made a career as an officer or non-officer impossible”. Kramp-Karrenbauer said that the affected soldiers will be “rehabilitated” under the new legislation.
How much will the compensation be
The legislation provides for the lifting of military court verdicts imposed by consensual gay sex, with 3,000 euros ($ 3,560) in damages for each of these verdicts, but also for soldiers who have been dismissed, had their promotion denied or been dismissed. The Ministry of Defense estimates that about 1,000 people will apply, reported the dpa news agency.
“I know that we cannot compensate for the personal injustice they suffered, but with the lifting of verdicts and the payment of a global indemnity, we want to send a signal – a small signal – of reparation, to restore the dignity of these people who wanted nothing more than to serve Germany”, said Kramp-Karrenbauer.
It is Germany’s latest initiative to address past anti-gay discrimination. In 2017, parliament voted to overturn the convictions of thousands of gay men under a law criminalizing male homosexuality that was applied with zeal in West Germany after World War II.
A federal court ruled in 1970 that homosexuality was no longer a disciplinary crime for soldiers, unless there was a “service connection“, said the study released in September. This was interpreted strictly at first and was gradually loosened.