Germany: Parliament in Germany Approves Same-Sex Marriage

Lawmakers in Germany voted on Friday to allow same-sex marriage after a brisk but emotional debate in Parliament, setting the stage for the country to join more than a dozen European nations — including Ireland, France and Spain — in legalizing such unions.

The historic decision came with a swiftness rare in Germany’s usually staid politics, after Chancellor Angela Merkel unexpectedly eased her conservative party’s opposition to gay marriage and said she would allow lawmakers to vote their conscience on the measure, although she ultimately voted against it. Ms. Merkel’s softened resistance paved the way for her coalition partners in the Social Democratic Party and two other political groups to press for Friday’s vote, which passed 393 to 226, with four abstentions.

The session on Friday was the last before Parliament goes on summer recess and before national elections in September. Heightening the emotion, several of the lawmakers who spoke were spending their final day in the legislature as members of Parliament. This was particularly true for Volker Beck, a Greens legislator and longtime campaigner for gay rights, who was close to tears when speaking with reporters after the vote. Read more via New York Times