German parliament votes to legalise same sex marriage

Germany’s parliament has voted to legalise same-sex marriage by 393 votes to 226, despite Angela Merkel opposing the move.

The German Chancellor was seen voting with a “red card”, indicating a no vote, at the end of a heated debate in the Bundestag, according to The Independent.

Ms Merkel had freed her conservative Christian Democrats (CDU/CSU) from the party whip on the issue, calling for a “vote of conscience”. 

The vote was called by the centre-left Social Democratic Party (SPD) under an amendment entitled “marriage for all”, which was guaranteed majority support in the Bundestag from The Left party and Greens.

Johannes Kahrs, an SPD politician known for his LGBT campaigning, launched a blistering attack on Ms Merkel over “embarrassing” delays to the legislation.

He finished his impassioned speech with: “Frau Merkel, thanks for nothing.”

The Chancellor had accused the SPD, which governs in coalition with her conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) of “ambushing” her by bringing forward the vote.

“It's sad and completely unnecessary...that such a decision has turned into a political confrontation at the very moment when there was a realistic outlook for a process that could have crossed party lines,” Ms Merkel told Wirtschaftswoche magazine.

“Every member of parliament should be able to follow their conscience.”

The issue has divided her party, which remains the largest in the German parliament and has shown comfortable poll leads ahead of September’s federal elections.

Germany has allowed same-sex couples to enter civil partnerships since 2001, but same-sex marriages remain illegal.

The draft law legalising same-sex marriage, which was  first moved in 2015 in the upper house of parliament by the state of Rhineland Palatinate, could be signed into law by the President after 7 July.

The Netherlands was the first European country to legalise same-sex marriage, back in 2001, followed by countries including Belgium, Spain, Canada, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, Iceland, Denmark, France and the UK.

With almost of its neighbours supporting legal unions between gay partners, calls had been increasing in Germany for the government to drop resistance that appears increasingly anachronistic.


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