The age of consent was equalized in unified Germany in 1994.Same-sex marriage has been legal since 1 October 2017, after the Bundestag passed legislation giving same-sex couples full marital and adoption rights on 30 June 2017.Lemke advocates the belief that the gay community was far more united in the GDR than it was in the West.
Prior to that registered partnerships were available to same-sex couples, having been legalised in 2001.
These partnerships provided most though not all of the same rights as marriages, and they ceased to be available after the introduction of same-sex marriage.
However, as opposed to East Germany, the churches' influence in West Germany was very strong.
Fundamentalist Protestants and the Roman Catholic Church were staunchly opposed to LGBT rights legislation.
Another poll in 2013 indicated that 87% of Germans viewed that homosexuality should be accepted by society, which was the second highest in the world (only 39 countries were polled) following Spain (88%).
The former Mayor of Berlin, Klaus Wowereit, is one of the most famous openly gay men in Germany, next to the former Mayor of Hamburg, Ole von Beust, the Secretary of State of Finances, Jens Spahn, the deceased former Minister for Foreign Affairs, Guido Westerwelle and comedian Hape Kerkeling.
During the Cold War era, support for gay rights in Germany was generally restricted to the Free Democratic Party, the Social Democratic Party and, later in the 1980s, the Green Party.
At the national level, advancements in gay rights did not begin to happen until the end of the Cold War and the electoral success of the Social Democratic Party.
West Germany kept the more repressive version of the law, legalising male homosexual activity one year after East Germany, in 1969.
The age of consent was equalized in East Germany through a 1987 court ruling, with West Germany following suit in 1989; it is now 14 years (16/18 in some circumstances) for female-female, male-male and female-male activity. Communist gay activist Rudolf Klimmer, modeling himself on Magnus Hirschfeld and his Scientific-Humanitarian Committee, campaigned to have the law repealed, but was unsuccessful.
Although same-sex sexual activity between men was already made illegal under Paragraph 175 by the German Empire in 1871, Nazi Germany extended these laws during World War II, which resulted in the persecution and deaths of thousands of homosexual citizens.