Germany’s cabinet has approved a bill to overturn the convictions of thousands of gay men who were prosecuted after the second world war. Gay men convicted between 1949 and 1969 who are still alive are expected to be given financial compensation for the suffering they endured under the legislation, known as Paragraph 175, which forbade sexual relations between men. The law was first introduced in the 19th century, before being made stricter in 1935 during the Nazi era and subsequently kept on the statute books by West Germany, whose authorities avidly implemented it. Although homosexuality was decriminalised in East Germany in 1968 and in West Germany in 1969, the legislation was not discarded completely until 1994. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet of conservatives and Social Democrats approved the bill on Wednesday morning. It paves the way for compensation payments of €3,000 (£2,600) for each conviction, as well as €1,500 (£1,300) for every year started in prison by convicted men.
March 22 / The Guardian