Germany isn’t a leader when it comes to gay rights, but most forms of discrimination are not tolerated and has now led to a court ordered fine for a man who refused to rent out his villa to a gay couple in Cologne.
When a gay couple entered into a registered partnership in 2014, they had hoped to book a suite generally reserved for honeymooners, but the property owner of the villa the couple had in mind denied the two men the space once he discovered they were gay.
The villa owner would often stay on the property with his elderly mother and rent out the extra space to newlyweds, but argued in front of a Cologne court that doing so for this same-sex couple would conflict with his “sense of morality and decency”.
However the court did not see it this way and concluded that there was no reason for him to be any more offended with this specific couple versus any other straight couple he regularly rents the space to, even if he was also occupying the villa while the couple was there.
The case fell under Germany’s equal treatment act, the Allgemeinen Gleichbehandlungsgesetz (AGG), which protects citizens from discrimination, and the villa owner was ordered to pay a fine of 850 euros. It may not be a lot, but it paves the way for future protections for LGBT rights.