A staggering majority of German lawmakers have voted to legalize gay marriage. Under the new bill, gay couples will be given full, marital rights—including the ability to adopt children.
Sources say the text, “Marriage is entered into for life by two people of different or the same sex,” will now be featured in German, legal code.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has historically opposed gay marriage and same-sex adoptions. In her 2013 campaign, Merkel said she had a “hard time” with it and opposed gay marriage due to concerns about “children’s welfare.” In spite of these clear concerns, gay couples will now have full, adoption rights under Germany’s marriage reform.
Even now, it seems Merkel’s feelings on gay marriage remain the same, though she did support the free vote. Sources say her announcement of the vote on gay marriage earlier this season “shocked the German media.”
After all was said and done, Merckel told reporters, “For me, marriage in German law is marriage between a man and a woman, and that is why I did not vote in favour of this bill today.”
In the end, 393 German MPs voted to back the same-sex marriage bill, while just 226 voted against it and another 4 MPs abstained. While Merkel has openly opposed the bill and even voted against it, she has commented that she hopes its passing will bring about more “social cohesion and peace.”
While proponents of gay marriage are probably quite pleased with the ruling, there are still many people who have concerns about it. Merkel’s own party, Christian Democrats (CDU) and it’s sister party, Christian Social Union, have been divided on the issue of gay marriage and more conservative members sustain their staunch opposition. Right-wing group Alternative For Germany has openly opposed same-sex marriage as well.