23:26 GMT10 April 2021
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    German Chancellor Angela Merkel has dismissed a proposal by a government commissioner to replace several words in the national anthem with gender-neutral equivalents, Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert said at a briefing in Berlin Monday.

    The German weekly Bild am Sonntag has obtained a leaked letter from German Family Ministry Equal Opportunity Commissioner Kristin Rose-Möhring to ministry staff in which she proposed minor changes to the national anthem in the hopes of making it gender-neutral.

    Specifically, Rose-Möhring suggested that the German word "Vaterland" — "Fatherland" — be replaced with "Heimatland" — "homeland." Additionally, she offered to change the phrase "brotherly with heart and hand" to a phrase translating to "courageously with heart and hand," saying that such changes would "suit the times."

    Rose-Möhring's suggestions sparked an immediate gender debate on social media but have not been met by much government support, with Merkel dismissing the proposal.

    READ MORE: German Social-Democrats Vote for Coalition With Merkel, Will Enter Gov't

    "The chancellor is very happy with our nice national anthem as it is in its traditional form and doesn't see any need for change," Merkel's spokesman told the Telegraph on Monday.

    Rose-Moehring reportedly hoped to make the anthem's lyrics less male-focused ahead of International Women's Day on March 8, with the idea being inspired by recently adopted gender-neutral phrases in the national anthems of Canada and Austria.

    Sunday marked the end of Germany's five-month struggle to form a government as two-thirds of the SPD's members backed forming a grand coalition with Merkel's conservatives.


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