Germany legalises same-sex marriage,  Angela Merkel votes against

Berlin : Germany on Friday became the 23rd country in the world to legalise same-sex marriage, after lawmakers passed a bill in a snap vote that was approved by Chancellor Angela Merkel just four days ago.

Chancellor Angela Merkel said she voted against legalising gay marriage given her personal view that marriage should be between a man and a woman, but she hoped parliament’s approval of the measure would lead to more social cohesion.

The German legal code was changed to say “marriage is entered into for life by two people of different or the same sex”, in the bill that was strongly supported by leftist parties.

The reform grants full marital rights, including child adoption, to gay and lesbian couples, who in Germany have been allowed since 2001 to enter so-called civil unions.

The lower house passed the bill by a margin of 393-226. The upper house has already approved it, and the measure is expected to enter into force before the end of the year.

Moments after the vote, Merkel told reporters, “For me, marriage in the Basic Law is marriage between a man and a woman and that is why I did not vote in favour of this bill today.”

“I hope that the vote today not only promotes respect between different opinions but also brings more social cohesion and peace,” she added.

Merkel said that her thinking had changed on the question of child adoption by same-sex couples, which she long opposed, labelling her past comments on it “unsatisfactory”.

“Since then I have thought a lot about the matter of child welfare and have now… come to the conviction that same-sex couples should be able to jointly adopt children,” she said.

The election-year bill was pushed by Merkel’s leftist rivals who pounced on a U-turn she made in an on-stage interview Monday— a manoeuvre that left many of her conservative lawmakers fuming.

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