Survey by the Anti-Discrimination Agency on the anniversary of the German Constitution
Overwhelming majority considers Basic Law one of the greatest achievements of the Federal Republic of Germany/
One in two interviewed in favour of expanding Article 3 of the Basic Law

Year of issue 2019
Date 2019.05.13

The overwhelming majority of citizens consider the Grundgesetz (German Basic Law) to be one of the Federal Republic of Germany’s greatest achievements. According to a recent survey by the Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency to mark the 70th anniversary of the Basic Law, 86 percent of participants shared this view. A total of 79 percent of those interviewed supported the statement that since its entry into force, the Basic Law had proven effective in protecting fundamental rights.

In addition, a majority of those surveyed are in favour of expanding the ban on discrimination stipulated in Article 3 (3) sentence 1 of the Basic Law. Protection against discrimination currently applies explicitly to persons being discriminated against based on their gender, religion, beliefs or on grounds of racism, language, home country, origin, political opinions or disabilities. 56 percent of those surveyed advocate expanding the protection against discrimination to include the characteristic of age; 52 percent are in favour of including protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation. According to 49 percent of interviewees, discrimination based on gender identity should also be explicitly enshrined into the Basic Law.

"As the survey shows, the majority of participants considers the current protection of fundamental rights to be insufficient. Precisely in times of prejudice and hate being expressed with increasing force, it would be an important signal to explicitly enshrine protection against discrimination for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans* and intersex people as well as on the grounds of age into Basic Law", stated Bernhard Franke, acting head of the Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency, on Monday in Berlin.

The General Equal Treatment Act (AGG), which entered into force in 2006 and prohibits discrimination in civil and labour law, already has a wider scope than the ban on discrimination stipulated within the Basic Law. The AGG does not only prohibit discrimination on racial grounds, or due to ethnic origin, gender, religion, belief or disabilities, but it also bans discrimination based on age or sexual identity.

In the context of the survey, participants also expressed their opinion on which groups they considered to be most affected by discrimination. Sixty percent believe that discrimination based on sexual identity occurs frequently or occasionally; more than half of the interviewees mentioned discrimination based on gender identity. Thirty-nine percent of those surveyed think that older people are frequently or occasionally discriminated against based on their age.

The representative 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). Its respondents consisted of German speakers aged 16 years or over residing in private households. A total of 1,026 people were surveyed across Germany.

The Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency (ADS for its initials in German) was established when the General Equal Treatment Act (German abbreviation: AGG) entered into force in August 2006. This Act aims to prevent or eliminate any discrimination on grounds of racism or ethnic origin, gender, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation.