Legalising homosexuality: Germany did it 25 years ago – what about other European countries?

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06/14/2019

This week Germany celebrated legalising homosexuality twenty-five years ago. Until June 11, 1994, it was still considered a crime in Germany even though since 1969 homosexuals were no longer prosecuted for “fornication”. Eighteen years ago, it became legal for same-sex couples in Germany to register their partnership and since 2015, people in a partnership can adopt their partner’s child. Two years later, same-sex marriage became legal (Eheöffnungsgesetz). Compared to many other European countries, Germany was quite late to legalise homosexuality. Until 1971 homosexuality was punishable in Austria and until 2002 there were still minimum age limits for homosexual relationships in the Austrian penal code (different from heterosexual relationships). The code allowed heterosexual partnerships to start at the age of 14, however, homosexual relationships were only considered legal from the age of 18 onwards. This section in the code only concerned male same-sex couples.

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