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Germany has now become the 23rd country in the world to legalise same-sex marriage after an historic vote in the German parliament on Friday.

The move brings Germany into line with many other European nations including France, Britain, and Spain and follows Chancellor Merkel’s surprise decision this week to allow her lawmakers to follow their own conscience rather than the party line on the issue.

This now puts extra pressure on the Australian Government and particularly Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to offer up a similar “free vote” and have the issue resolved.


In a surprise twist from the vote, Merkel voted against the bill.

Lawmakers celebrated in the German parliament with confetti (Source: Michael Sohn/AP - Mic)
Lawmakers celebrated in the German parliament with confetti (Source: Michael Sohn/AP – Mic)

Merkel, who is seeking a fourth term in a national election on Sept. 24, said she had voted against the bill because she believed that marriage, as defined under German law, was between a man and a woman.

But she said her decision was a personal one, adding that she had become convinced in recent years that same-sex couples should be allowed to adopt children.

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

Following the vote at the Bundestag, hundreds of gay activists celebrated the victory outside waving rainbow flags and holding up placards.

“This is simply a historic day for Germany,” said Soeren Landmann, a marriage equality activist, to news service Reuters.

“Today, thousands of same-sex couples were given equality, and the two-class society in matters of love was abolished. Germany can really rejoice today.”

A survey by pollster INSA for daily Bild showed this week that three-quarters of Germans favored its legalization.

Lawmakers voted by 393 in favor of same-sex marriage to 226 against, with four abstentions.

In a similar survey by ReachTEL in Australia, this week support for marriage equality sits at 62.4%. In the same poll, 59.1% support the use of a plebiscite to decide the marriage equality debate while 40.0% want a vote in parliament.

With five weeks until the next parliament sitting period, it is expected the heat will be applied for a decision come that first week back in August.

Last Updated on Jul 1, 2017

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