Nothing says partying in Germany quite like Oktoberfest. But this year, there’s a decidedly queer flavor to the traditionally apolitical event: Gay visibility at the week-long festival is increasing and so is the issue of same-sex marriage.
According to the Christian Science Monitor, “Oktoberfest celebrations like “Gay Sunday” – one of several events dedicated to gays and lesbians that now draw thousands of revelers – politics has inevitably seeped into the mix.”
The issue of same-sex marriage in Germany, while not nearly as heated as it is here in the United States, still draws a political debate: The liberal Free Democratic Party, which has many gay members, has given its full support to same-sex marriage. But the more socially conservative Christian Democratic Union has not. Chancellor Angela Merkel, part of the CDU, has offered only lukewarm support.
But if it seems strange that Germany remains a holdout among the European Union’s larger members—marriage-equality countries include Spain, Portugal, Sweden and Norway; with England and France quickly reaching a consensus.
But it’s becoming less strange to see two men in lederhosen holding hands in a Munich biergarten. And with five million visitors coming to the city each year, that’s still something we can say “Prost” to.