Thuringian proposal against gender: war against the asterisk

Thuringian state authorities should refrain from using gender-sensitive language in the future. This is possible because the AfD approved an application by the CDU in the state parliament.

A crossed word in the dictionary.

The Duden is a bit more advanced than the CDU and AfD in Thuringia Photo: imago

BERLIN taz | On Thursday evening, the CDU pushed through a motion against gender-appropriate language. This was possible because the Thuringian MPs of the AfD also approved the application. For the Union’s request “gender? No thank you! Comply with the rules of the German language – no politically motivated alienation of the language!‘ voted 38 MPs, 36 against.

The consequence of this: Thuringia’s state authorities should in future do without gender-appropriate language. However, the state government and subordinate authorities do not have to comply with the ban, it is only a request. This is justified by the fact that there is no majority for “changes in the German language in the sense of so-called gender language, as various surveys have shown” and that the “gender language is grammatically incorrect”.

The factions of the Left, SPD and Greens, who form a minority government, had tried to come up with an amendment to the “Commitment to respectful communication“ to find a compromise. In it, the parliamentary groups speak out “for more language sensitivity” and support “a more relaxed approach to the German language”. The parties form the government, but because the government in Thuringia is a minority government, the application could not prevail.

Criticism also from within their own ranks

The Thuringian CDU sees the fact that the Union’s application was approved as a success: “It’s good that the state parliament has taken into account the opinion of a large majority of people in Thuringia and is a sign of the use of a clear and understandable German language has set,” said a spokesman for the Thuringian CDU at the request of the taz. “The gender language excludes people who are not good at German, who have reading difficulties, sensory disabilities or cognitive limitations.”

The spokesman does not see the fact that the right-wing extremist AfD voted with the Union as a problem: “As the largest opposition faction, we independently bring content-related initiatives to the state parliament that correspond to our goals and convictions. We do this independently of the question of who is for and who is against. There are no agreements with the AfD parliamentary group on our motions.” Anyone who gives up their own beliefs out of fear gives the AfD power that they don’t even have.

However, criticism came from the ranks of the CDU: it had already been loud in advance the association Lesbians and Gays in the Union (LSU) critical of the application of the Thuringian Union. “From our point of view, a ban on gender-sensitive language is not a measure and middle policy, and this cannot be a Christian Democratic point of view,” said Thomas W. Schmitt, Deputy Federal Chairman and Federal Press Spokesman of the LSU of the taz on request.

“Unfortunately, it was to be expected that the CDU application would now find support from the AfD,” Schmitt told the taz. “In any case, the CDU should think again about whether they can take responsibility for wanting to be perceived in this way in the future when it comes to political issues that are currently affecting many in society. The CDU must under no circumstances be a bridge builder to the political views of the AfD.” The only consolation is that the current decision is only of an appellative character, since the application was not made as a law but as a request.

Is the firewall crumbling to the right?

In the meantime, this “building bridges to the AfD” is taken for granted by the government factions. “The Thuringian CDU and the AfD passed a motion against gender-appropriate language with a narrow majority. And she did so with full awareness of the fragile majority in the state parliament,” said Matthias Hey, leader of the SPD parliamentary group in the Thuringian state parliament, when asked by the taz.

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“One has to assume that she had priced in the votes of the AfD,” says Hey. “I’m afraid we’re seeing a crumbling of the self-invoked here in slow motion Firewall between CDU and AfD experience in a state parliament.” The Thuringian CDU is thus following the national trend and is unfortunately increasingly developing into a banned party with a lot of polemics.

The left published a press release on Thursday on the vote of AfD and CDU, in which she classified the vote as a “right-wing culture struggle”. Katharina König-Preuss tweeted to this: “They clap together. The fascists of the AfD, the CDU and the conspiracy faction ‘Citizens for Thuringia’. There is no firewall, no border of the CDU to the right. They are all part of the right-wing Kulturkampf at the expense of an open, solidary society.”

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