Friday, 30 June 2017

Lawmakers vote to legalise same sex marriage in Germany

Germany's parliament have voted in favour of legalising same sex marriage after a vote on Friday morning.

The move comes after German Chancellor Angela Merkel said earlier in the week, that lawmakers in her Christian Democratic party should vote based on conscience.

Merkel's decision to make the vote one of conscious, rather than along party lines came after meeting a lesbian couple in her constituency, looking after eight foster children.

A total of 623 votes were cast, 393 voted for marriage equality, with 226 voting against, and four abstentions.

Merkel herself decided to vote against the move, in the "marriage for all" vote, saying she voted 'no' due to her "basic belief" that "marriage is marriage between man and woman".

Luckily this was clearly an opinion not felt by the majority of politicians in the German parliament.

Meanwhile a recent poll showed that 80% of Germans backed same sex marriage.

The opposition Green party lawmaker Volker Beck said: "This is a historic day for our minority - it's a contribution to unity, rights and freedom".

But Merkel's decision may have been as political as much as based on any change of heart, with elections coming up at the end of September.

All parties which could form a coalition with Merkel's Christian Democrats, had said they would not partner with her unless there was a vote on same sex marriage.

But whether it was political or not it is significant progress for the LGBT+ community, and brings Germany in line with other European countries.

I can only hope that this latest victory, encourages leaders in other countries to call similar votes, with same sex marriage still not in place in developed countries such as Australia.

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