Germany Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage

Michele Moreno
July 1, 2017

GERMANY has voted to legalise same-sex marriage.

Germany's parliament has voted in favour of legalising same-sex marriage, joining many other western democracies in granting gay and lesbian couples full rights, including adoption.

Merkel said June 26 that she wanted the vote on gay marriage to be "one of conscience", thus encouraging her conservative party allies to vote freely. That meant her conservative lawmakers wouldn't have to follow a party line and could vote however they wanted.

The bill passed in a 393-226 vote.

Civil marriages are legally recognised in Norway, Sweden, Denmark (excluding the Faroe Islands), Finland, Iceland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, Luxembourg, France, the United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland and Jersey), and the Republic of Ireland.

Chancellor Merkel voted against the measure, saying that 'marriage is between a woman and a man', realising, nevertheless, that her vote is a personal one.

Once Germany's Senate approves the bill next week, as expected, homosexual couples in Germany will have the same rights as heterosexual couples to marry and jointly adopt children - barring any legal challenge.

Merkel's Christian Democrats, and their Bavarian allies, the Christian Social Union (CSU), have long opposed gay marriage.

There are several central and eastern European countries - including Austria, the Czech Republic and Italy - where only civil partnerships are open to gay couples, rather than marriage. "I think (Merkel) said it on Monday and today is Friday and we have a new law". She also said that climate change will be among top priority issues during the leaders' discussions.

Shortly before the snap vote, the president of the German bishops' conference, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, had stressed hat the state must continue to protect marriage as a union between a man and a woman as laid down in the German constitution.

They called for a vote by the time parliament went into summer recess at the end of the week - prompting Mrs Merkel to complain she'd been "ambushed".

"I hope that the vote today not only promotes respect between the different opinions but also brings more social cohesion and peace", Merkel said. All three of Merkel's potential coalition partners in the next government were demanding it: Schulz's Social Democrats, who are her current partners in an awkward "grand coalition" of rivals; the pro-business but socially liberal Free Democrats; and the traditionally left-leaning Greens.

Other reports by Insurance News

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