German politicians have voted to legalise same-sex marriage. A total of 393 politicians voted to legalising “marriage for everybody”, while 226 voted against and four abstained from voting.
The snap vote took place today, only days after Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel changed her mind to allow a free vote.
Ms Merkel, has always been against same-sex marriage, but she allowed for the vote after saying on Monday that politicians could take up the issue as a “question of conscience”. As expected, she voted against the bill citing concerns over the welfare of children.
Members of Ms Merkel’s conservative coalition were given the freedom to individually vote for their choice rather than follow party lines. The Chancellor said though she voted against legalising gay marriage, she hoped Parliament’s approval of the measure would lead to more social cohesion.
She said: “For me, marriage in the basic law is marriage between a man and a woman and that is why I did not vote in favour of this bill today.”
Germany has allowed same-sex couples to enter civil partnerships since 2001, but same-sex marriages had remained illegal. All of Ms Merkel’s potential coalition partners after the September 4 election have been calling for the legalisation of same-sex marriage. However, her traditional Catholic conservative bloc was not happy when she announced that she would allow politicians to vote on same-sex marriage according to their individual conscience drew the ire of some in her traditionally Catholic conservative bloc.
The “marriage for all” bill will grant gay and lesbian couples full marital rights and allows them to adopt children. It will likely be signed into law by the President some time after July 7.