Originally published on Advocate.com December 13 2003 12:00 AM ET
The German parliament on Friday approved plans for a memorial to gay men and lesbians persecuted under the Nazi regime and committed itself to funding the project with half a million euros (US $600,000). A corresponding vote was passed in the Bundestag lower house of parliament by the center-left coalition parties despite opposition from the conservative Christian Union alliance. "It is high time that murdered homosexuals are remembered in the center of the German capital," cultural minister Christina Weiss said.
In 2000 the Bundestag officially apologized for the persecution of gays under the Nazis. Up to 10,000 gay men and lesbians were sent to concentration camps, but authorities brought an estimated 100,000 prosecutions after drastically toughening the law to make it a crime for two men even to share a kiss or caress. The Nazi-era law remained in effect until its abolition as an embarrassing anomaly in 1969, but homosexuality was only totally decriminalized in 1994.