June 30, 2017 at 3:22 am EST | by Michael K. Lavers
German lawmakers approve same-sex marriage bill

Reichstag, Berlin, Germany, gay news, Washington Blade

German lawmakers on June 30, 2017, approved a same-sex marriage bill. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

German lawmakers on Friday approved a bill that will extend marriage rights to same-sex couples.

The measure passed in the lower house of the German Parliament, which is known as the Bundestag, by 393-226 vote margin with four abstentions.

The vote took place less than a week after Chancellor Angela Merkel announced her position on whether to allow a vote on the issue had changed.

She told the editor of a German magazine that she recently had dinner with a lesbian couple who are raising eight foster children. Merkel, who is a member of the conservative Christian Democratic Party, voted against the bill.

The Social Democratic, Green and Free Democratic Parties all back marriage rights for same-sex couples. Friday’s vote took place ahead of elections that are scheduled to take place on Sept. 24.

Germany since 2001 has allowed gays and lesbians to enter into civil partnerships. It is among the last countries in western Europe that have not extended marriage rights to same-sex couples.

Gays and lesbians can legally marry in Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Spain, Portugal, England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland and Iceland. Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, who won re-election earlier this month, said his government plans to introduce a same-sex marriage bill.

The German bill is expected to become law by the end of the year.

“After years of waiting and hoping, rainbow families in Germany will now receive equal recognition under the law,” said ILGA-Europe Executive Director Evelyne Paradis in a statement. “This is a historic milestone that can inspire even more change for LGBTI people.”

Ty Cobb, director of Human Rights Global, also welcomed the vote.

“With the very serious challenges the LGBTQ community continues to face around the world, this is welcome news and an important victory in working to ensure LGBTQ people are embraced as full members of society,” he said.

Friday’s vote took place a day before up to three million people are expected to line the streets of Madrid for the WorldPride parade. Hundreds of advocates from across Europe have been attending LGBT rights conferences and other events in the Spanish capital this week.

Lars Vorberger is a member of the board of directors of Rainbow Rose, the LGBT network of the Party of European Socialists, who lives in the German city of Hamburg. He described the vote as “really wonderful” as he spoke with the Washington Blade on Friday during a Rainbow Rose and Party of European Socialists conference that is taking place at the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party headquarters in Madrid.

“It’s great to really celebrate this big decision and the big step we took this morning in Germany,” said Vorberger.

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

  • NightHawk/Marriage Guardian

    Yeah yeah yeah am being sarcastic here so very funny. A bunch a smarta$$s want to legalize this in Germany well if you do it through a vote fine u can be fair and it does not mean I like it but if is through perverting the constitution like they did on the us and I lived there in Germany no. Yeah yeah yeah I am going to say this whole thing is just laughable despite I am being sarcastic here, I don’t know what to think but not something I consider exactly good as others my view point. View points are not always about what is right anymore then certain opinions because that is just what one would like to think/believe.

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