After the law on marriage equality had been adopted in Gemany and some other countries, namely Malta, the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum asked "Quarteera", Association of Russian-Speaking Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender People in Germany, to comment on the new legislation. Here is a text submitted by Katherine Ogurtsova:

On 30 June 2017, my Facebook feed was more colourful than a New Year’s tree – everyone celebrated with champagne and salute the new law adopted by Bundestag on marriage equality, which equates same-sex partnerships with marriages. The plans for the weekend included parties, a banquet in the Bundestag building, and for some people – finally making an application for marriage.
226 out of 393 MPs voted for the law following their conscience and without regard to a party discipline, as Angela Merkel, German Federal Chancellor, Chairwoman of the Christian Democratic Union, called for in her interview with a women’s magazine a few days earlier. According to opinion polls, the result reflects the opinions’ ratio in the German society: More than 70% of citizens support marriage for all people.
This decision was not spontaneous. Germany has come a long way to that. Up until 1968, in the German Democratic Republic and until 1969 in the Federal Republic of Germany, homosexual relations were prosecuted. In the GDR, they were condemned as they contradicted the communist ideology.
However, in the conservative Federal Republic, orientated at Christian values, the situation was not better. Since the late 1980s, there has been an open debate on the rights of the LGBT community. For example, Volker Beck, a member of the "Green" faction in the Parliament, had been trying to enact this law for more than thirty years. The Lesbian and Gay Alliance of Germany (LSVD), the largest human rights LGBT organisation, had held meetings and campaigns to promote the idea of ​​equality for many years.
Since 2001, there have been so-called "civil partnerships" in Germany, lawful unions, which two same-sex adults could create regardless of their gender identity and sexual orientation. By 2017, 34 thousand homosexual couples have officially formalised their relations.
However, back then, 16 years ago, these unions were only a small concession to a pressure from LGBT activists and leftists. Such partnerships gave far fewer rights to partners who, for example, did not enjoy tax benefits provided in Germany for married persons or did not receive pensions upon the death of one of the spouses. Over the years, each amendment to the law on same-sex partnerships, bringing such unions closer to marriages, was literally won in the Parliament, in public debates and gay prides.
The new law gives couples such basic, albeit important and necessary rights as, for example, the right to inherit the property of the spouse passed away, not to testify against each other in court, to learn about the health of the spouse and to make decisions, if a partner is incapacitated. I
t might seem that the last frontier is breached: All couples are now equal. Germany has finally reached the same legislative step as other European countries, such as the UK, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Iceland and Ireland. One can celebrate and drink champagne.
But the victory was incomplete, with a bitter aftertaste. When a slight dizziness from champagne and euphoria dispelled, and people, finally, carefully read the text of the law, it turned out that the new law does not completely change the rights of same-sex couples in relation to children. According to the new law, the procedure for the adoption of a child by a same-sex family will be the same as in a traditional marriage, when both spouses immediately become step-parents. However, if a child is adopted by a lesbian couple, only a birth mother receives the maternal right, and her spouse will have to follow a long, expensive and humiliating adoption procedure to recognise her maternity rights. There are also other forms of inequality, for example, with the compensation of services for artificial insemination.
The public attitudes towards same-sex families is still ambiguous. For example, only slightly more than a half of German citizens support the adoption of children by same-sex couples. There is already a debate within the political circles on a possible repealing of the law on "marriage for all" as not conforming to the German Constitution. The law will come into force only in October, and the opponents have time to challenge the law at the Constitutional Court.
However, there is a hope that this inequality will also become a history, and we will finish our champagne.