German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle is openly gay and likes his partner to accompany him on foreign trips. However, he now says that he will travel alone to countries where homosexuality is an offense. He wants to promote tolerance, but not "imprudently." That's a disgrace. A Commentary by Henryk M. Broder.
Germans have many things they can be proud of. One is the fact that the mayor of Berlin is openly gay. And so is the current foreign minister.
Anyone who remembers the social conservatism of the Germany of the 1950s and 60s, the mutterings about then Foreign Minister Heinrich von Brentano, a member of the conservative Christian Democratic Union, who, according to Wikipedia, lived "as an unmarried Catholic with his mother," or the words the conservative Bavarian politician Franz-Josef Strauss uttered in 1970, when he said "I'd rather be a cold warrior than a warm brother" (in German, the term "warm brother" is slang for "gay man"), knows that a society's stance toward homosexuals is a measure of how civilized it is.
It isn't an issue of tolerance, because tolerance is an act of mercy that can be revoked as quickly as it is granted. Most Germans couldn't care less whether a politician is gay, straight, a vegetarian or an avid cyclist. Guido Westerwelle, the leader of the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP), wasn't voted into office and appointed as the country's foreign minister because he's gay, nor is he in his current position despite his homosexuality. Voters simply didn't care about his sexual preference one way or another. And that -- one would hope -- won't change until the day he is voted out of office again.
Very interesting commentary to read, this is the link to the complete article: http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,711783,00.html
Source photo: ddp / http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,711783,00.html