Germany to annul thousands of homosexuality convictions

LGBT pride

Photo via mathiaswasik/Flickr

The law will financially compensate the 5,000 remaining living men who were convicted.

On Wednesday, Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel and her cabinet approved a bill to rescind the convictions of 50,000 men sentenced for homosexuality after World War II.

Germany banned homosexuality in 1871 with Paragraph 175. The law extended under the Nazis to send gay men to concentration camps, and homosexuality wasn’t decriminalized until 1968 and 1969 in East and West Germany, respectively, according to Pink News. In 1994, the legislation was scrapped altogether, leaving more than 140,000 men convicted and 50,000 prosecuted under the law.

In 2000, Germany approved a resolution regretting that the law remained after World War II, and two years later rescinded convictions of men while under Nazi rule, but not of those from after the war.

According to ABC News, the reversal would also financially compensate the estimated 5,000 living men who were convicted under the law. The bill would set aside $32.4 million for those convicted, and would dole out $3,230 for each conviction, plus an additional $1,620 for every year of jail time started under the conviction.

The law will also have Germany give $540,000 annually to fund the Magnus Hirschfeld Foundation, named after a gay right activist and pioneer in sex research from post-World War I. The foundation is in the process of documenting stories from men convicted under the law.

The bill still needs parliamentary approval.

“The rehabilitation of men who ended up in court purely because of their homosexuality is long overdue,” Justice Minister Heiko Maas said. “They were persecuted, punished and ostracized by the German state just because of their love for men, because of their sexual identity.”

H/T PinkNews

Samantha Grasso

Samantha Grasso

Samantha Grasso is a former IRL staff writer for the Daily Dot with a reporting emphasis on immigration. Her work has appeared on Los Angeles Magazine, Death And Taxes, Revelist, Texts From Last Night, Austin Monthly, and she has previously contributed to Texas Monthly.