German Parliament Approves Same-Sex Marriage
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« on: July 06, 2017, 04:48:36 pm »

German Bundestag Approves Same-Sex Marriage
By Alison Smale and David Shimer of The New York Times
JUNE 30, 2017

BERLIN — The lower house of the German Parliament voted to legalize same-sex marriage after a brisk but emotional debate, prompting scores of gay and lesbian Germans to celebrate in the streets. The historic decision came with a swiftness rare in Germany’s usually staid politics, just five days after Chancellor Angela Merkel unexpectedly relaxed her party’s opposition to same-sex marriage and allowed lawmakers to vote on the issue according to their consciences.

The Chancellor's softened resistance opened the way for her coalition partners in the Social Democratic Party and two other political groups to press for a vote on the measure, which had previously been blocked by her Christian Democrats and their conservative allies. The Chancellor voted against the measure on Friday, but many of her party colleagues voted in favor, allowing it to pass easily — 393 votes in favor and 226 against, with four abstentions. With the passage of the measure, Germany will join Ireland, France, Spain and other nations in extending full marital rights to same-sex couples, including the right to adopt children.

The Chancellor said that while she had come to support the right of same-sex couples to adopt, she continued to believe that marriage ought to remain a union between a man and a woman. What she did not want, she said, was a culture war over the issue. To become law, the measure still requires approval by the upper house of Parliament and the signature of President Frank-Walter Steinmeier. Same-sex couples in Germany have been able to form civil unions since 2001, but until this week, conservatives had consistently prevented the issue from coming to a vote. Last weekend two major political parties said they would make the legislation a condition of any future coalition agreement with the CDU, who are not expected to win enough seats in September to govern alone.

Approval of same-sex marriage in Germany may foster momentum for similar legislation in other German-speaking countries, like Austria and the Swiss Confederation.
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