The majority of citizens want it, the Greens, the Social Democrats (SPD), the Left (die Linke) and more recently the Liberal Democrats (FDP) also want it. Hella von Sinnen, Cornelia Scheel and Rosenstolz have been wanting it since the 90's: the possibility for same-sex pairs to marry. In fact, since 2001 gays and lesbians in Germany have been able to register their partnerships and since then activists have been taking over the registry offices little by little. Nevertheless, legislators still refuse the legal equality of registered partnerships and marriage. Partnered gays and lesbians are not allowed to adopt children, are worse off in terms of taxation or can only be jointly assessed when they lodge a separate application. Therefore, it is still the case for same-sex pairs in Germany: While we are allowed to use the same words, we do not have the same rights. This must be rectified. Therefore Cologne Pride 2012 says "Yes, I do!" (Ja, ich will).
Registered partnerships finally gave many gays and lesbians the legal security to officially call their partner family. Still, in the beginning obligations overwhelmed registered partners. The courageous ones had to win gradual alignment with marriage before the courts, paragraph for paragraph. The Federal Constitutional Court made it clear more than once that registered partners were not to be discriminated against. The time has come to bring the remaining laws into line. We have waited long enough. We demand the government to finally act and open up marriage for same-sex pairs.
In the German government there is actually a parliamentary majority for the opening up of same-sex marriage, only the CDU/CSU faction (Christian Democrats) oppose such a move. Therefore, in the coming weeks, Cologne Pride will pose the same question to all members of parliament. With a simple answer politicians can make their position clear: "Yes, I want equality for gays and lesbians!". On a separate internet page we will publish the results by means of a virtual government seating plan. Support us by increasing the pressure on politicians so that they will promptly bring the legal situation into line. Write to your local member and ask him or her to say "Yes, I do!".
As well as the virtual polling, the slogan "Yes, I do!" will be conveyed in many different ways in the coming weeks and during Cologne Pride. Sometimes we will play on the slogan, at other times we will treat it very seriously. Whether as a button, poster, or sticker we want to finally be allowed to say more than just the same words.