23:01 GMT10 April 2021
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier rejected Wednesday an initiative to change some words in the country's anthem in order to make it gender-neutral.

    "No, I do not welcome changing the words," Steinmeier told the Saarbruecker Zeitung newspaper, when asked a corresponding question.

    The initiative was proposed by Kristin Rose-Moehring, Germany's commissioner for family affairs, who recommended, in particular, to change the word "fatherland" to "homeland," and "brotherly" to "courageously."

    READ MORE: Fatherland Forever? Merkel Not Impressed With Gender-Neutral Anthem Initiative

    These suggestions sparked an immediate gender debate on social media. 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.

    READ MORE: 'Fatherland' Kaput? German Official Reportedly Wants Gender Neutral Anthem

    German government spokesman Steffen Seibert said on Monday, commenting on the initiative, that Chancellor Angela Merkel was satisfied with the existing lyrics of the anthem.

    gender, national anthem, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Germany
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