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Homosexual people do therefore not stand outside socialist society, and the civil rights are warranted to them exactly as to all other citizens".
In 1989, the German film titled "Coming Out" directed by Heiner Carow was exhibited on the night that the Berlin wall came down, and tells a story of an East German man coming to accept his own homosexuality, with much of it shot in the local gay bars. Jürgen Lemke (often spelt "Jurgen Lemke" in the English-speaking world) is considered one of the most prominent East German gay rights activists and has published a book on the subject (Gay Voices from East Germany, English edition published in 1991).
As a result of these strong socially conservative influences, the German Christian Democratic Union, the dominant political force in post-war West Germany, tended to ignore or oppose most gay rights issues.
While their frequent coalition partners, the Free Democratic Party tended to have a stronger belief in civil liberties, they were, as a smaller party, less likely to alienate the more socially conservative elements in the larger Christian Democratic Union.
The age of consent was equalized in East Germany through a 1987 court ruling, with West Germany following suit in 1989; it is now 14 years (16/18 in some circumstances) for female-female, male-male and female-male activity. Communist gay activist Rudolf Klimmer, modeling himself on Magnus Hirschfeld and his Scientific-Humanitarian Committee, campaigned to have the law repealed, but was unsuccessful.
Homosexuality was punishable by death in the Holy Roman Empire from 1532 until its dissolution and in Prussia from 1620 to 1794.
The influence of the Napoleonic Code in the early 1800s sparked decriminalisations in much of Germany outside of Prussia.
Another poll in 2013 indicated that 87% of Germans viewed that homosexuality should be accepted by society, which was the second highest in the world (only 39 countries were polled) following Spain (88%).
The former Mayor of Berlin, Klaus Wowereit, is one of the most famous openly gay men in Germany, next to the former Mayor of Hamburg, Ole von Beust, the Secretary of State of Finances, Jens Spahn, the deceased former Minister for Foreign Affairs, Guido Westerwelle and comedian Hape Kerkeling.
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Lemke advocates the belief that the gay community was far more united in the GDR than it was in the West.