On marriage for all, the very political game of Angela Merkel

By Thomas Wieder

Posted today at 00:41, updated at 12:35

June 6, 2019 appears in the Washington post a tribune signed by a professor of political science at the University of Zurich, Tarik Abou-Chadi, under the title: ” No, America. Angela Merkel is not a progressive champion “. At the origin of this article, the speech given by a Harvard student, a week earlier, on the occasion of the presentation of an honorary doctorate to the German Chancellor. A speech in which it was notably stated that it had “Vote for same-sex marriage”. This sparked a loud applause from the hundreds of Harvard students and professors.

Hearing this, Mr. Abou-Chadi fell from his chair. That we celebrate Angela Merkel for “Its attachment to the main principles of liberal democracy”, for “The remarkable absence of scandals during his years at the head of the government” and for the “Major humanitarian gesture” As to his decision not to close Germany’s borders during the 2015 refugee crisis, he has no problem: “In the current political climate, these are qualities that distinguish Angela Merkel”, he writes. “But to describe her for all that as a champion of liberal or progressive causes, that is quite strange in view of her record in Germany and in Europe”, he continues, citing in particular the case of marriage for all. A law which, if it is true that it was passed while she was chancellor, will have been “Not thanks to his leadership, but despite it”, observes the professor of political science.

The parliamentary group of the German Environmental Party celebrates the adoption of marriage for all in the Bundestag in Berlin on June 30, 2017.

To pass a law in spite of oneself: the expression may seem strange. However, it is difficult to summarize more accurately the role played by Angela Merkel in the adoption, in 2017, of the law opening marriage and adoption to same-sex couples. Without her, nothing would have been possible. And yet, she voted against. This deserves an explanation.

Monday June 26, 2017. The German Chancellor takes part in an exchange organized by the women’s magazine Brigitte on the stage of the Maxim-Gorki Theater in Berlin. Spectators are invited to ask him questions. Among them, a young man asks him when he will have the right to call his companion “My husband”, in other words whether a law will ever allow homosexuals to marry in Germany. He pointed out to her that the legislative elections were approaching and that the Social Democrats, the ecologists and the liberals, in other words the three parties with which she could be brought to govern if she was re-elected chancellor, had affirmed that they would not sign a vote. “Coalition contract” with her if it did not provide for the adoption of the law on marriage for all during the next legislature.

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