Germany finally votes to legalise same-sex marriage
German MPs this morning voted by a clear majority to legalise same-sex marriage.
After years of campaigning, things moved swiftly this week with a vote being announced, carried out and successfully passed in a matter of days.
Chancellor Angela Merkel gave her Christian Democratic Union party a free vote in the proposal put forward by the Social Democrats – though Mrs Merkel herself voted against the legislation.
The vote passed this morning in the Bundestag by a clear majority.
393 members of parliament voted in favour of the bill, with 296 voting against and 4 abstentions.
Previously, same-sex couples could not get married but instead only enter into civil unions.
Same-sex couples will now be able to have all the rights connected to existing marriage laws. This includes joint adoption.
Same-sex couples may be able to get married in Germany before the end of 2017, after the law is formally amended to reflect the result of today’s historic vote.
The German legal code will now read: “Marriage is entered into for life by two people of different or the same sex.”
While she permitted the vote on Monday, Mrs Merkel was one of those who voted against the motion, having in the past admitted to having a “hard time” with the issue.
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She recently revealed that meeting a lesbian couple who had eight foster children together changed her mind on whether or not a free vote should be allowed on the matter.
“After years of waiting and hoping, rainbow families in Germany will now receive equal recognition under the law,” said ILGA-Europe Executive Director Evelyne Paradis.
“This is a historic milestone that can inspire even more change for LGBTI people.”
She added: “This result has taken years of persistence – and now there is momentum in Germany. Marriage equality is not the final destination.
“LGBTI people and their families need to feel safe and supported in every facet of their lives – outside the civil registry office, as well as inside it.”
The quick movement towards the snap vote comes ahead of a general election in Germany on September 24.
Significant parties the Greens, Linke, and Free Democrats all vocally backed same-sex marriage and said they would not enter into a coalition government unless the law was changed.