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“Marriage for Everyone” – German Parliament Paves the Way for Gay Marriage
(Blogmensgo, gay blog of July 7, 2017, updated on July 8, 2017) On the last day before the summer break, and after just one hour of debate, the German Bundestag (parliament) voted for a bill opening marriage to same-sex couples last Friday (June 30, 2017). 393 members voted for, and 226 against the bill introduced by the Bundesrat, the representation of the German states, which had been supported mostly by the left-wing parties. One week earlier, the Bundestag had voted for a bill rehabilitating gay men who had been punished due to their homosexuality.
In view of the elections in September 2017, chancellor Merkel tried to reduce the risk of losing electoral votes and therefore declared the vote a matter of conscience of each member of the Bundestag, effectively lifting the pressure to vote along party lines. About 80% of the CDU/CSU (right-wing) party members, including Angela Merkel, voted against opening marriage to same-sex couples during the roll-call vote.
Here is a short video report by Euronews (in German):
After the successful vote, chancellor Merkel stated that due to her interpretation of the constitution, marriage is defined as the union between a man and a woman. At the same time, she was happy that this subject was dealt with, and society would get back some peace on this issue.
Due to recent polls, about 73% of the German population is in favor of same-sex marriage, i.e. slightly more than the percentage of representatives in support of the bill.
The liberal party and the left-wing parties had made this subject a campaign pledge. Merkel’s party officially opposed the subject but did not put it high up on their list of priorities.
Germany has had same-sex partnerships according to the “life-time registered partnership law” (LPartG) since 2001. Subsequently, the law on registered partnerships was modified several times to bring it almost in line with straight marriage – except for child adoption: Currently, same-sex partners only have the right to limited successive child adoption.
The video below shows the Bundestag debate with contributions of several representatives.
Before coming into effect, the bill has to be enacted by the federal chamber (Bundesrat) and signed by German president Steinmeier, which is considered a pure formality though.
Update of July 8, 2017: Yesterday, on Friday, July 7, 2017, the German Bundesrat (the federal chamber representing the German states) voted for the bill as well. In its last session before the parliamentarian summer break, the Bundesrat had a very comprehensive program to handle, including the vote on “marriage for everyone.” As soon as president Frank-Walter Steinmeier has signed the bill, it can be officially announced in the Federal Law Gazette (Bundesgesetzblatt) and thus come into effect relatively soon.
Some opponents to same-sex marriage in the right wing parties CDU/CSU and AfD have announced to challenge the new law by the constitutional court (Bundesverfassungsgericht), which still might block or delay the law.
Finally, the video below shows Norbert Lammert, the president of the German Bundestag as he announces the result of the vote.
Frank-S / MensGo
Initial source: dw.com, June 30, 2017.