German politicians have voted to make same-sex marriage legal just days after Chancellor Angela Merkel dropped her opposition to it.
The snap vote came after Merkel said the matter was a “question of conscience”, which allowed members of her conservative coalition, which has been against the move, to individually vote for it.
The vote passed by a clear majority. 393 members of parliament voted in favour of the bill, with 296 voting against and 4 abstentions.
Previously, same-sex couples could not get married but instead only enter into civil unions.
Same-sex couples will now be able to have all the rights connected to existing marriage laws. This includes joint adoption.
Same-sex couples may be able to get married in Germany before the end of 2017, after the law is formally amended to reflect the result of today’s historic vote.
The German legal code will now read:
Marriage is entered into for life by two people of different or the same sex.”
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