German Parliament Votes to Legalise Same-Sex Marriage

Berlin: 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, reported the Guardian.

Norbert Lammert, President of the parliament, said 393 lawmakers voted in favour, 226 voted against and four abstained.

The Chancellor, Angela Merkel, said she voted against the move because she believed marriage was for a man and a woman. She said the decision for her was a personal one, but she hoped the result would lead to greater social peace.

The election-year bill was pushed by Merkel’s leftist rivals, who pounced on a U-turn she made on Monday in which she softened her stance against gay marriage, a manoeuvre that left many conservative politicians fuming.

The lower house approved the law on Friday, hours before the Bundestag begins its summer recess.

Before the vote, gay and lesbian groups cheered the push for marriage equality in Germany, where civil partnerships were legalised in 2001.

French engineer Christophe Tetu, 46, who lives in Berlin with his partner Timo Strobel, 51, said it’s a real recognition, so it warms the heart.  He added that they’re thinking about having a party, getting married and using their new rights to protect their relationship.

Strobel said he too was “overjoyed” the couple would be able to show family and friends “that we are committed to each other, that we will stay together and we will spend our lives together”.

The law will probably take effect before the end of the year.