Sunday, October 1, 2017

Karl and Bodo's Day

Karl and Bodo jump the broom
Oh, happy day!

The doors opened at the registry offices around Germany today, allowing lesbian and gay couples to marry. The bill passed the Bundestag, the lower house, on June 30, and the Bundesrat, the upper house, on July 7, was signed into law by President Steinmeier on July 30, and was published in the Federal Law Gazette on July 28, touching all the bases, so to speak. Passing this law was no mean thing, and laws don't usually go into effect overnight. 

A great step for the modern narrative. You know the older one, the one some on the religious right still adhere to, about the Garden of Eden. In that narrative, marriage is for Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve, and woman is cursed to suffer the pain of childbirth forever because she listened to a snake that once walked on two legs but must now crawl on the ground because Eve couldn’t overcome her desire for knowledge.

Side by side with that narrative is this new one in which Adam and Steve (actually this first couple’s names are Karl and Bodo) don’t go to hell for their disobedience, but are inconvenienced a tad (one can’t rush the bureaucracy) by having to wait three months before getting to sign on the dotted line and open those final bottles of champagne. I say final. I’m assuming plenty were opened on June 30, that first important date.

Younger people will take this in stride, while geezers of my generation will want to squeeze the event for all it’s worth. It was a long long time coming and in so many places – just across the border in Poland, for example, it is yet to come. In Poland and the other nations of Eastern Europe it isn’t even on the horizon. So you’ll excuse the urge to jump around a little.

Polls of voters by party show a rapid - and (pace FDP) universal - change in approval of same-sex marriage in Germany in the past two years:  

June 2015
June 2017
Die Linke
Green Party

Not that somebody didn't find a way to throw a few tacks in the road. The bureaucracy couldn’t get its shit together in three months to update the registry software. That means Karl and Bodo, who have been together for thirty-eight years, and have been trying to marry for twenty-five, will have to decide which of them signs on the “husband” line and who puts his name down as “the wife.” 

At least they don’t ask who’s the top and who’s the bottom.

Or which one wears the pants in the house.

Or which one the kids will call daddy.

94,000 gay couples in Germany, according to one count. Not all will want to marry. Marriage isn't for everyone. But at least the option is now there for anyone who wants it.

Happy day.  Congrats, Germany! 

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