Thuringian state parliament votes against gender-fair language

Landtag and the state government in Thuringia should not change their public communication according to the will of a narrow parliamentary majority. This is required in a highly controversial motion by the opposition CDU parliamentary group, which received 38 of the 74 votes cast in a roll-call vote in the state parliament late on Wednesday evening. 36 MPs voted against it. The red-red-green minority coalition had tried in vain to find a compromise with a “self-commitment to respectful communication” with a counter-motion.

The Left MP Christian Schaft threw the CDU with her motion against the use of gender-neutral language, to use a right-wing culture war and campaign against the use of gender-neutral language, “as one would otherwise expect from the AfD parliamentary group”. Left, SPD and Greens, who heavily criticized the motion, do not have a majority in the Thuringian state parliament.

AfD MP Corinna Herold announced before the vote that her parliamentary group would support the CDU motion. She called gendering “language abuse”. Ute Bergner from the citizens of Thuringia described it as “nonsensical” and a “non-culture”.

The CDU MP Christoph Zippel justified his parliamentary group’s motion with the fact that, according to various surveys, a majority of people in Germany reject the “gender language”, some of them perceive it as paternalistic. Gender language is “an elite project of a small minority,” according to Zippel. SPD MP Cornelia Klisch describes gender-sensitive language as a “legitimate means of expressing gender equality”. The CDU fails to recognize that language is constantly evolving.

State Chancellery Minister Benjamin-Immanuel Hoff (left) said that the state government adheres to the rules that are set, among other things, by equality laws or case law. According to Hoff, gender-fair language is like the quota for women. “It must be fought for.”

Gendering is about a use of language that is intended to express the equal treatment of all genders and identities. Gender asterisks, colons, underscores or short pauses in speech are used, among other things.

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