We have put Mrs. Merkel schachmatt
Volker Beck is on a big farewell tour. In September it is concluded that the Green Party will no longer be members of the new Bundestag. There is nothing to be seen in his office. The shelves: full. Far and wide no moving boxes. Overbeck’s desk hangs the old black-and-white election campaign of the Greens. It shows a train at the train station and two men kissing. One of them is Volker Beck. In the Bundestag election campaign in 1987, the Greens campaigned with the poster and the slogan “gay, self-confident, self-determined, self-evident”.
Beck has fought his whole political life for it. With success. In his last Bundestag meeting the parliament voted in June for the marriage for all. A great victory for the 56-year-old. Stop when it’s the most beautiful? That still does not fit. For Beck does not go voluntarily, he would like to remain in the Bundestag. But in December, he lost a promising list place in the election and then withdrew his candidacy.
N-tv.de: Your office does not look like you are going to move out soon.
Volker Beck: I am a deputy until the day when the next Bundestag meets. Until then, I do my job, so I’ll be packing in September.
How hard will it be to close your office door for the last time from the outside?
This is already an incision. I liked to be a deputy. Now comes a new phase. I’m curious about what this is doing to me.
Have you already made a memorial photo with Angela Merkel?
No, this kind of devotional collection is not mine. In my mandate, I was always concerned about the things I fought for and not about myself as a person. The fight for the equality of homosexuals has driven me into politics. On June 30, I achieved a great success with the marriage. That is what counts and stays.
Was marriage for all your greatest political triumph?
Triumph sounds as if someone were going to defeat others. Such triumphalism is far from me. After overcoming the criminal category of homosexuality in 1994, it was important to add civil equality as well. There were, however, more political successes: for example the compensation of the victims of the Nazis in 1996 from the opposition, and in 2004 the Immigration Act with progress for certain refugee groups.
And what was the worst moment in your political career?
The negotiations on the Immigration Act in the mediation committee were a difficult time. This lasted a long time and I was the only greener in a working group of 20 people. With an interior minister, Otto Schily, who was my coalition partner, but had partly fought politically on the other side.
What was your biggest mistake?
My biggest mistake is long before my mandate. An essay on sexual offenses.
You mean your text, in which you pronounced yourself in 1988 for the decriminalization of pedophilia, that is, sexual life with children.
In the 1980s, people had a fuzzy look at the protection of children from sexual assaults. It was a huge mistake that at that time I was not precise and clear enough in my thoughts and thought possible liberalization efforts beyond the decriminalization of homosexuality. A mistake, however, which I have shared with institutions like the Federal Criminal Police Office, which have published similar in time. I have corrected this mistake to apology and used in my parliamentary work for a better protection of children from sexual abuse.
Nevertheless there was violent criticism of you. How much has it gnawed at you to be an enemy for many people?
Whoever goes to politics and fights for something has necessarily opponents. People hate one because they hate certain concerns. This is all the more true for topics such as Israel and homosexuality. In the hostility one has to always say: This is not just you, but the thing. This also makes it easier to bear.