When it comes to equality, Argentina wins
So Germany has just overcome Argentina – by only one goal in extra time, no less – to be crowned world champions of the sport pretty much every country in the world except Australia and the US calls football.
Germany and Argentina prove to make an interesting comparative study. Both countries have female heads of government (though it must be said, Argentina’s Cristina de Kirchner looks less like a president and more like a B-grade actress from an 80s US prime-time soap who’s had way too much work done in her later years), and both are among the wealthiest per-capita nations in their respective regions.
Not to mention, following World War II, then-Argentinean president Juan Peron opened his country’s borders to hundreds, possibly thousands, of Nazi war criminals to flee to, including Adolf Eichmann himself. But that was a long time ago.
Both countries were also comparative early adapters of same-sex relationship recognition and rights. In fact, it was way back in 2001 when Germany first allowed Eingetragene Lebenspartnerschaft – registered life partnerships – for same-sex couples that provide most, but not all, of the same rights as marriage under German law. Argentina was the first country in Latin America to legalise same-sex marriage back in 2010, almost a decade after civil unions were first made legal in Buenos Aires.
Above: Germany may have won the World Cup but when it comes to equality, Argentina is by far the winners.
Sadly, however, where Argentina has made slow and steady progress towards marriage equality, Germany has stalled. Under Chancellor Angela Merkel, who heads the anti-equality Christian Democratic Union (they’re also opposed to same-sex couples adopting children), Germans have seen the UK, France, Denmark, Portugal, Spain, Norway, Iceland and Sweden pass them by over the past decade while their country remains rigidly locked into straights-only marriage. This is despite the fact that around three-quarters of Germans are said to support marriage equality. Merkel is on record arguing her country’s constitution “sees marriage directly linked to the family and both are under the special protection of the state”.
It’s a great shame, given Germany’s great political and economic significance in the Eurozone as well as its previous history of LGBTI progress. That said, Merkel’s rhetoric against marriage equality is hardly in the same inflammatory league as leaders of other anti-equality European nations. Berlusconi or Putin she ain’t.
Of course, all this probably didn’t mean much to the millions of Germans and Argentineans who tuned in to see Germany claim World Cup glory. But hopefully when the 2018 rolls around in Russia, both countries will have one more thing in common: marriage equality.