Volker Beck

Kristina Schröder, Volker Beck, PolitCamp 2010

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Volker Beck (born 12 December 1960 in Stuttgart) is a German politician. He is a sitting member of parliament for the Green Party in the Bundestag. Beck served as the Green Party Speaker for Legal Affairs from 1994–2002, and as the Green Party whip in the Bundestag since then. He represents Cologne and was reelected as MP and whip in September 2005.

Beck is openly gay and served as spokesman of the Association of Lesbians and Gays in Germany (Lesben- und Schwulenverband in Deutschland LSVD for over ten years. He is a supporter of gay marriage and has been referred to as the Father of the German Registered Partnership Act.

He lived in a long-term partnership with Jacques Teyssier until his death from cancer in Berlin on July 25, 2009. The couple had officially registered their partnership in 2008, after 16 years.

Between 2001 and 2004 he was chief negotiator for his party on the new immigration law coming into to force 2005. He is publicly known for being a very tough negotiator.

In 2003, the German Bundestag decided on his initiative that the Federal Republic of Germany will erect a national memorial in the centre of Berlin for homosexuals persecuted by the Nazi Party.

In 2006, he sponsored an anti-discrimination act in civil law and at the workplace, outlawing discrimination based on race, ethnic origin, sex, sexual identity, religion, age, and disability.

On 27 May 2006, Beck was attacked and injured by extreme Right wing clerical reactionaries during a Gay Rights demonstration in Moscow, called Moscow Pride. His attack as well as his participation at the Moscow Pride Festival is featured in the documentary Moscow Pride ’06.

On May 2007 he was arrested and put in a bus in front of the Moscow City Hall by the police. He had wanted to hand over a petition signed by several Members of Parliament at Moscow City Hall. He was attacked and had eggs thrown on his head. As it had already happened in 2007, his partner Jacques Teyssier tried to protect Mr. Beck from attacks by antigay protesters. Beck spoke in favor of continuing European Union sanctions on Uzbekistan, originally instated after the Uzbek government did not allow an international investigation of the Andijan massacre, on 17 October 2006.

He is also an important figure in recompensation for victims of Nazism. He negotiated the foundation Remembrance, Responsibility and Future (slave labor recompensation). In 2008, he claimed that the German Parliament should raise more money to fight against right wing extremists.

In 2001 the INGLO honoured his work for the gay and lesbian civil rights movement in Germany with the Like-a-rock Award. In the same year the Berlin Gay Pride festival honored him with the Rainbow Award.On October 3, 2002, he was honored by the then German President Johannes Rau on the advice of Jewish organisations (the Central Council of Jews in Germany and the Jewish Claims Conference) as Knight of the Distinguished Service Cross. Beck also supported the Holocaust memorial and is a member of the Federal Foundation which erected the memorial.Equality Forum honoured Beck on May 1, 2005 as one of forty heroes for his extraordinary contributions toward LGBT equality. He is the only non-North American who was honored.On October 5, 2006 during GLBT history month Volker Beck was featured by Equality Forum

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