EU chief under fire over ‘mandatory gay marriage’ joke

An EU official has apologised for joking that Germany might make same-sex marriage mandatory.

Günther Oettinger, European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, made the comments in a speech to a Hamburg business meeting.

The EU bureaucrat was filmed apparently mocking Germany’s “liberal” attitude, saying: “The German agenda has mandatory pensions, retirement as 63, child care allowance, the silly Autobahn toll that will never be introduced… after that, perhaps the obligatory homosexual marriage will be introduced!

“The German agenda does not fulfil my expectations of German responsibility at all.”

Same-sex marriage continues to be banned in Germany.

Mr Oettinger, a member of Angela Merkel’s right-wing CDU, also allegedly referred to Chinese people as having “slit eyes”, but the comments were not caught on camera.

Referring to a Chinese trade delegation, he recalled: “Nine men, one party, no democracy. No female quota, and no women, which follows logically. All of them in suits, single breasted dark blue jackets. All of them had their hair combed from left to right, with black shoe polish on their hair.”

Speaking to Die Welt, Oettinger conceded his comments were “sloppy” but taken out of context, insisting he did not mean to cause offence.

Asked if he had something against same-sex marriage, he said: “No, not at all. I put gay marriage in a list of topics, initiatives and debates mentioned that determine the political agenda in Germany.

“My concern was to add to this list of issues – particularly on the subject of economic competitiveness.

“Whoever made this recording didn’t want to show the full picture, but present parts out of context. I got a lot of positive encouragement at the event.”

However, he has not appeased critics.

Syed Kamall, leader of the European Parliament’s European Conservatives and Reformists group, slammed the lack of action, telling Politico: “You’ve got to ask how many times Oettinger is going to get away with this behaviour.”

​Sophie in ‘t Veld, Vice-President of the ALDE group of the European Parliament, said: “Racist, sexist or homophobic ‘locker-room talk’ is not acceptable behavior of a European Commissioner.”