Germany's longest-serving chancellor, the 83-year old Helmut Kohl, recently attended and legally witnessed a same-sex civil union ceremony for his friend, the lawyer Stephan Holthoff-Pförtner (64). This "homo wedding," as some German press accounts have headlined the affair, draws more high-profile publicity to ongoing German debates over same-sex "marriage," particularly among self-defined conservatives like Kohl.
Kohl declared that he "very gladly" and "indeed humanly" witnessed the ceremony between the "good friend" Holthoff-Pförtner and his law partner Klaus Sälzer (54). Holthoff-Pförtner was Kohl's lawyer during a political contributions scandal during the 1990s, since which their friendship developed. A further witness at the ceremony in Upper Bavaria's scenic Teggernsee city hall was Germany's present foreign minister, Guido Westerwelle, accompanied by Michael Mronz, with whom Westerwelle likewise shares a same-sex civil union.
This private affair has become a "small political matter," in the words of one press account, given the prominence and political affiliations of the participants. Kohl and Holthoff-Pförtner are both members of Germany's traditional conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU), many of whose members oppose current proposals to equalize completely Germany's civil unions with marriage. Kohl, moreover, is noted for having called for strengthened conservative social values with a "spiritual-moral turning" in Germany during the 1980s. As Germany's conservative Die Welt newspaper commented upon the ceremony, "Who would have thought?"
Kohl and Westerwelle have added to the number of German politicians personally bringing same-sex civil unions into public prominence. Westerwelle's fellow parliamentarian from the libertarian-leaning Free Democratic Party (FDP), Michael Kauch, reported in April 2013 that a lesbian friend, like Kauch in a same-sex civil union, had given birth to Kauch's daughter via artificial insemination. Kauch discussed how the daughter would live with him and his partner while still maintaining relations to the lesbian mother and her partner. Carl-Friedrich Freiherr Ole von Beust (58), meanwhile, entered a civil union in June 2013 with a 22-year-old man who met Beust three years earlier as in intern in Hamburg's city-state government, then headed by CDU Mayor Beust. With leaders like this, many Germans are sure to follow homosexual agendas.