70 years
of the German Basic Law

A survey on expanding the constitutional ban
on discrimination stipulated in Article 3 of the Basic Law

- Fact sheet on the research project -

Authors: Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency (FADA) Year of publication: 2019

Brief overview

Contents

The survey is representative of the population and examines survey participants’ attitudes towards broadening Article 3 of the Basic Law to include the characteristics sexual identity and gender identity as well as age. In addition, it investigates the prevalence in Germany of discrimination on the grounds of certain characteristics from the respondents’ perspective and their views on the topic of “anti-discrimination policy”, which also involves improving the legal protection from discrimination.

Methodology

The survey was conducted in the period from 22 March to 24 April 2019 by the Kantar Emnid polling institute using Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing (CAPI). The population surveyed consisted of German speakers aged 16 years or over residing in private households. A total of 1,026 people were surveyed across Germany. Respondents were randomly selected and the results were weighted post-survey. This means that the results can be generalised to the population within the error tolerances customary for surveys.

Main results

Assessment of the Basic Law

70 years after its entry into force, survey respondents rate the Basic Law as highly positive: a clear majority sees it as one of the greatest achievements of the Federal Republic of Germany (86 per cent) and believes that it has demonstrably proven itself protecting the basic rights (79 per cent). At the same time, a surprisingly high proportion of those surveyed (61 per cent) is concerned that the Basic Law might not remain applicable forever and that anti-constitutional powers could one day prevail.

Attitude towards broadening Article 3 of the Basic Law

Significantly more respondents came out in favour of rather than against amending Article 3 (3) of the Basic Law to include additional characteristics and thereby broaden the constitutional protection against discrimination to cover additional sections of the population. Accordingly, 56 per cent are in favour of adopting the characteristic “age” (27 per cent against), 52 per cent for including the characteristic “sexual orientation” (33 per cent against) and 49 per cent are in favour of expressly enshrining into the Basic Law the protection from discrimination on account of “gender identity” (while 35 per cent oppose it).

The study revealed that an awareness of the problem of discrimination is associated with higher approval ratings for broadening the protection from discrimination in Article 3 of the Basic Law. If survey respondents are under the impression that discrimination on account of a specific characteristic occurs frequently or at least occasionally, then they are also more likely to advocate adopting a corresponding ban on discrimination within the Basic Law.

Options for action

The results make a case for adoption of the characteristics “sexual and gender identity” as well as “age” into Article 3 (3) Sentence 1 of the Basic Law. In the long-term, this would ensure that discrimination along such dimensions would in principle be forbidden, and set a clear signal of recognition and visibility. It should also be examined whether the term “race”, which is currently still in use in the constitution, could be replaced with the word “racist” since the very use of the term in itself perpetuates racist notions.

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