German president apologises to gays for decades of injustice

German Frank-Walter Steinmeier. [Photo: Courtesy]
Germany's president has asked gays for forgiveness for decades of suffering and injustice they endured as a result of repressive laws in Germany in the Nazi era and after World War II.

Frank-Walter Steinmeier spoke Sunday in a ceremony marking the persecution of gays by the Hitler regime.

The dpa news agency quoted Steinmeier as saying that the harsh treatment continued in the post-war era, in both parts of a then-divided Germany, where homosexuality for years remained a criminal offense.

The president says "this is why I'm asking for forgiveness today, for all the suffering and injustice, and the silence that followed."

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Steinmeier says he wants to reassure "all gays, lesbians and bisexuals, all queers, trans- and intersexuals" that they are protected in today's Germany.

german presidentFrank-Walter SteinmeierGermanypresident apologises to gays