Friday, June 30, 2017
Joining other countries that have recognized a need to protect the legal rights of same-sex couples, and understanding that this requires full marriage equality for same-sex couples, the German Bundestag voted today to approve marriage for same-sex couples.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her conservative party had blocked votes on the same-sex marriage legislation. To the surprise of many, she eased her opposition and allowed a free vote to deputies in her party. Although many reports stated that she had dropped her opposition to same-sex marriage, Merkel herself voted against the legislation, which passed by a vote of 393 to 226 with 4 abstentions and 7 members absent.
Some conservative German lawmakers appeared to threaten a constitutional challenge to the legislation, but the Grundgesetz für die Bundesrepublik Deutschland (the Basic Law for the German Federal Republic, the German Constitution) says in Article 6(1) only that "Marriage and the family are under the special protection of the state." [In German: "Ehe und Familie stehen unter dem besonderen Schutze der staatlichen Ordnung."]. Article 6(1) does not further define "marriage" (or "family") and thus would not support any constitutional challenge to the legislation.
The legislation now goes to the Bundesrat for its formal approval, which is expected. The bill then goes to the German President, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, for his signature. Germany will become the 23rd country to allow same-sex marriage (unless Malta gets there first).
Rex Wockner keeps the best up-to-date list of where same-sex marriage is legal. Click here to have a look.
Hat tip to rw.