After a rush to vote on Friday, German lawmakers put the issue of gay marriage to a vote and finally gave their support, putting Germany on par with many of its European neighbors and allies around the world.
The vote came after German Chancellor Angela Merkel gave the go ahead earlier this week, changing her previous stances against such a thing. Some see it as a political move ahead of the September elections, seeing as a majority of the German public believe in marriage equality, but Merkel has been trying to make it clear that she still holds firm to her beliefs.
“For me, marriage in German law is marriage between a man and a woman, and that is why I did not vote in favour of this bill today,” said Merkel as the bill went to a vote. She did go on though to remove her own personal beliefs, telling members of parliament: “I hope that the vote today not only promotes respect between different opinions, but also brings more social cohesion and peace”.
Does this mean that same-sex couples can head to the chapel today? Not exactly. While the bill passed in the lower house of Parliament, it still has to work its way up through the upper house, and then have President Frank-Walter Steinmeier sign off to finalize the new law. Despite the a few additional hurtles, most believe that it will receive the same amount of support down the line. If so, an early Fall timeframe is currently being pushed for the first marriage licenses.