While Germany is progressive on a number of fronts, the issue of same-sex marriage has struggled to gain acceptance from the government. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party has always taken a more conservative stance, and thus far had been seen as one of the leading opponents on the issue, but after the chancellor had a surprising change of heart during a campaign event on Monday, lawmakers are jumping on the opportunity to cast their vote this Friday.
The curveball event happened when Merkel was asked by a man at an event hosted by women’s magazine Brigitte in Berlin, whether or not he will soon be able to call his partner his “husband”. Few expected her to respond by acknowledging that it is an issue that has an overwhelming amount of support for and that she encouraged a free vote among the German parliament.
With the German elections taking place in September, most took this as a post-election topic, but Martin Schulz, leader of the country’s second largest political party, the Social Democratic Party (SPD), immediately jumped on the opening and helped move the issue to a snap vote before the end of the week.
Merkel’s blessing has upset a number of her closest supporters who hold firm to their belief that marriage should only be between a man and a woman, but as the September vote inches closer, the German chancellor has faced pressure to break away from the traditional stance as her key opponents have been cashing in on the general public’s acceptance by promising marriage equality.