BERLIN— German lawmakers voted Friday to legalize same-sex marriage, a move widely supported across the country that brings Germany in line with many of its Western peers. Chancellor Angela Merkel voted against the measure, but paved the way for its passage by allowing members of her conservative party to vote according to their conscience.
Lawmakers voted 393-226 to legalize “marriage for everybody,” with four abstentions. Underlining the delicate political tightrope that Merkel walked, the “no” votes came entirely from her conservative bloc, although some prominent party members, including Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen and her chief of staff Peter Altmaier, voted for it.
“This is a historic day,” said Greens lawmaker Volker Beck, who leapt to his feet to applaud once the result was announced and was showered with confetti by supporters.
“It is really an amazing victory,” said Beck, who has campaigned around Europe for gay rights.
Gay couples outside the chancellery, not far from parliament, kissed and hugged after the decision was announced, waving rainbow flags and carrying signs saying “Marriage for everybody.”
“We’ve been happily married for eight years, but we could never call it that,” said 38-year-old Shoshana Brandt, standing alongside her partner and their son. “We are happy and proud that we are now equal and we can live our love.”/AP