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German Chancellor Angela Merkel's cabinet on Wednesday, November 25, approved a financial compensation to gay soldiers who had faced discrimination in the armed forces until a change in policy 20 years ago.
According to reports, the approval has been granted two months after Defense Minister, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, issued an official apology for decades of "systematic discrimination" in the Bundeswehr from 1955 to 2000.
"I very much regret the practice of discrimination against homosexuals in the Bundeswehr, which stood for the policy of that time. I apologise to those who suffered because of it," she said, reported WION.
The minister further added that although they could not make amends and lessen the suffering caused by such discrimination, however, the cabinet wanted to "set an example" where possible and "turn the page on a dark chapter in the history of the armed forces".
The legislation will lift military court verdicts imposed for consensual gay sex with a symbolic sum of €3,000 ($3,590) in compensation being paid for each of those verdicts. The soldiers who were dismissed, denied promotion or stripped of responsibility would also stand eligible for compensation.
The Defense Ministry has mentioned that an estimated 1,000 people would be eligible for the payout.
"I know that we can't make up for the personal injustice they suffered but, with the lifting of verdicts and the payment of lump-sum compensation, we want to send a signal — a small signal — of redress, to restore the dignity of these people who wanted nothing other than to serve Germany," Kramp-Karrenbauer said.
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