Nationwide inquiries about “marriage for all

Nationwide inquiries about 'marriage for all

Debate on “marriage for all” continues © Lino Mirgeler

Many gay and lesbian couples apparently can hardly wait to get married. Nationwide inquiries have been received by registry offices, but they are still waiting for precise instructions on procedure.

Even before “marriage for all” comes into effect, interested parties are contacting registry offices nationwide. According to a survey by the Protestant Press Service (epd), many major German cities have received inquiries from gay and lesbian couples who want to marry or convert their registered civil partnership into a marriage. The Bundestag had on 30. June passed a law opening marriage to same-sex couples as well. The law passed the Bundesrat one week later.

The signature of the Federal President is still missing under the law. According to the Office of the President, the decision has not yet been received. Marriage for all” to come into force three months after it is drawn up. According to the epd survey, the registry offices ame that this will be the case in October or November – depending on when Frank-Walter Steinmeier gives the final green light for the law.

Gang Karlsruhe

Since 2001, same-sex couples have been able to enter into a civil partnership, which was largely equivalent to marriage. But what was missing was, among other things, the right to jointly adopt children. The fact that gay and lesbian couples will be able to marry "properly" in the future is not without controversy.

Even a Verfangsklage against the law is not excluded.

Interest in "marriage for all" varies from region to region

While in Berlin's Schoneberg-Tempelhof district, the capital's district with the most civil partnerships, there are an average of four inquiries a day, according to the registry office there, and in Leipzig a good four dozen couples had inquired about marrying or converting their partnership by midweek, there have been no inquiries at all in Dresden and the Bavarian cities of Ansbach, Aschaffenburg and Bamberg.

In Cologne, around 30 interested parties came forward, in Stuttgart a good dozen couples who want to get married and another 20 or so who want to convert their civil partnership. In Frankfurt am Main, according to the local registry office, inquiries are received daily. There were also inquiries in Hanover, Magdeburg and Saarbrucken.

Registered civil partnership will no longer exist

In Freiburg seven couples came forward by the end of the week. There, according to the city spokeswoman, a couple is considering entering into a civil partnership before "marriage for all" comes into effect, which will no longer be possible afterwards. Only civil partnerships that have already been entered into can remain in existence after "marriage for all", according to the Bundestag's decision.

Reinhard Luschow and Heinz-Friedrich Harre from Hanover, who were married on 1. The two couples, who were the first in Germany to enter into a registered civil partnership in August 2001, want to "become a married couple as soon as possible," as Luschow told the epd. But he is also patient: "I'm a civil servant myself, so I'd like to give my colleagues in the registry office a chance to develop some procedural rules."

Will there be enough staff??

Unanimously, the registrar's offices actually say they must first wait for the copy of the law and the corresponding administrative regulations from the ministries before they can give concrete information on dates, procedures and fees.

Some registry offices expressed concern about having enough staff. In Berlin, where there are already bottlenecks in appointments for marriages, according to the Senate Administration, former registrars, among others, are to be reactivated.

Cologne said it was also not yet known whether the conversion of a civil partnership into a marriage should be a mere administrative act or require a ceremony. At least for new marriages, however, one is already sure in Munich: "The ceremony in the registry offices will be designed exactly the same as for opposite-sex couples," said the local authorities.

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