German ministries spar over draft law with feminine nouns

BERLIN — Germany’s Interior Ministry has objected to draft legislation drawn up by the Justice Ministry that uses the feminine form for every reference to people, arguing Monday that it likely would be unconstitutional.

In German, linguistic convention has long called for the masculine form of a word to be used as the default when referring to people of either sex, such as in legislation. But that so-called “generic masculine” has become increasingly controversial, with feminists and others arguing that it is outdated and advocating alternative forms that reflect both genders.

The Justice Ministry — run by center-left Social Democrat Christine Lambrecht — came up with a novel approach in draft legislation on bankruptcy. Instead of the usual masculine forms such as “Verbraucher” (“consumer”) or “Schuldner” (“debtor”), it used only the feminine forms — “Verbraucherin” or “Schuldnerin,” for example.

It is customary in Germany for draft legislation to be discussed

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Ministries and photographer claim Virginia LGBTQ rights law forces them to ‘violate’ their beliefs

A Christian conservative legal group has filed lawsuits on behalf of nonprofit ministries and a photographer, saying a new Virginia law offering LGBTQ protections forces them to “abandon” their beliefs.



a close up of a flag: Pride flags decorate Market Square in Old Town Alexandria during Pride Month on June 24, 2020, in Alexandria, Virginia.


© Shannon Finney/Getty Images
Pride flags decorate Market Square in Old Town Alexandria during Pride Month on June 24, 2020, in Alexandria, Virginia.

The Virginia Values Act offers sweeping protections to the state’s LGBTQ community in areas including housing, employment, public spaces and credit applications. It was signed into law in April.

But a group caled the Alliance Defending Freedom says the law has forced its clients “to abandon their core convictions in hiring and other polices or face fines up to $100,000 for each violation.”

“Our clients offer spiritual guidance, education, pregnancy support, and athletic opportunities to their communities because of the religious beliefs that motivate them,” ADF senior counsel Denise Harle said in a statement.

“But Virginia’s

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