Saturday, October 29, 2016

Heiko Maas

Justizminister Heiko Maas
Let’s hear it for Heiko Maas.  Love that name, Heiko.  If I were going to change my name to anything, it would be Heiko.

Have a thing for Heiko.  Don’t know why.  He’s not particularly gorgeous, although I'm more attracted to his type than to the George Cloonies of the world.  He’s also straight and has a wife and kids, although he's now separated.  He’s a triathlete; I'm a couch potato.   So it's not about male attraction, although men in their forties and early fifties are looking kind of nifty to me these days.  He's 50.

But I like him.  I like the fact he’s a member of Germany’s Socialist Party.  Belongs to the party I’d probably associate with if I were a German citizen.  He comes from the Saarland, which is the part of Germany I feel the least connection with.  Kind of too far out there.  A little too Frenchy maybe.  Too Luxemburgy?  No serious objections to the place.  It’s just that it has a different feel from Lower Saxony, where my family comes from and the speech patterns are warm and satisfying.  Or from Berlin, with its unique sharp sense of humor and joie de vivre, which will always be home to my soul.

Maybe it’s just that I resonate with his politics.  He has taken on the CIA and the NSA, and demanded they piss off out of the lives of German citizens.  He has taken on Google and Facebook as well, for their failure to take more effective steps against hate speech.  He’s Germany’s Minister of Justice, the equivalent of Attorney General, so he speaks with some authority.  At the same time, he has been criticized for a number of conservative stances.  Somebody tried to pass a law which would withdraw recognition of marriages performed abroad of people (i.e., girls) under fourteen, and he dragged his feet.   Dragged them again when they tried to pass a no-nonsense law against groping, following the nightmare at the Cologne train station this past new year’s.  Said it was too broad and made bad law.  I see him as taking a reasonable approach, though, with an eye on the big picture instead of on the politically appealing mood of the moment.  I think he’s the kind of person you want running the show, whether you agree with every one of his decisions or not.

So I’m already a fan.  Which is saying something when it comes to politicians.

So imagine my delight when reading just now that he has taken another stand, in opposition to Chancellor Merkel, in support of same-sex marriage in Germany.  He’s already not merely a member of the Magnus Hirschfeld Foundation (remember Magnus Hirschfeld as the gay rights researcher par excellence, world wide) – not just a member, but president of its Board of Trustees.  Germany already has a pretty liberal registered partnerships law giving gays and lesbians almost all the rights of other citizens.  But it withholds adoption rights.  There is still the lingering fear on the part of the Christian Democrats and the Christian Socialists (note the word “Christian”: in their names), Merkel’s ruling “union” coalition, that there is something not quite right about being gay.  Heiko Maas wants to shed that notion once and for all.

For that reason, he’s my man.

Go, Heiko!

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