Germans celebrate first gay marriages

Gay and lesbian couples have until now only been able to enter into registered partnerships with fewer legal rights than heterosexual couples. That all changed on Sunday as same-sex marriage became legal in Germany.

Karl Kreile and Bodo Mende – two civil servants from Berlin – became the first gay couple to marry in Germany on Sunday after parliament voted in June to allow lesbian and gay couples to marry and adopt children.

Berlin Mayor Michael Müller congratulated the couples and described the first gay nuptials as a "historic event."

"Marriage for all is a milestone on the path to full legal and social equality," Müller said in a statement on Friday ahead of the weddings, lauding the gay and lesbian community and those "who fought for many years" for their rights.

Same-sex couples in Germany have been able to register civil partnerships since 2001, but it was not until parliament voted for marriage equality earlier this year that full marriage equality was enacted. With that move, various differences between civil partnerships and marriage – principally that same-sex couples were not able to adopt children together - were finally erased.

Kriele, 59, and Bodo, 60, have been at the forefront of campaigning for gay rights in Germany since meeting in 1979 in what was then West Berlin.  Read more via DW