Germany’s former foreign minister says Chancellor Angela Merkel should stop sitting on fence when it comes to equal marriage.

In an interview with German magazine Stern, Guido Westerwelle said it was time for Mrs Merkel to “decide” on what direction she would take on the issue.

Mr Westerwelle, who is in a civil partnership, said he hoped “the progress made during our term in government” would be completed in the German Chancellor’s third term, “namely the complete legal equality of same-sex partnerships and marriage.”

He said Germany had yet to achieve marriage equality, adding of Mrs Merkel: “Now she has to decide.”

During 2013, Chancellor Merkel angered LGBT campaigners with her slowness to back equal tax arrangements for same-sex couples and her continued refusal to support equal marriage.

Guido Westerwelle became Germany’s first openly gay cabinet minister in October 2009.

He resigned as foreign affairs minister in December and also left the Bundestag, having been elected in 1996.

Germany’s new Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks came out as gat earlier this month in a newspaper interview – making her the country’s first openly lesbian cabinet member.

Germany legalised domestic partnerships for same-sex couples in 2001. Adoption rights were granted three years later.

Recent polls suggest 65% of Germans support equal marriage.