Home » News » News Roundup » New Roundup » World News » Germany gay marriage OK’d

Germany gay marriage OK’d

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany’s parliament backed the legalization of same-sex marriage on Friday in a historic vote hailed by gay activists and leftist parties but criticized by some in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ruling conservative bloc and by the Catholic Church.

The move brings Germany into line with many other European nations including France, Britain and Spain and follows Merkel’s surprise decision this week to allow her lawmakers to follow their own conscience rather than the party line on the issue. Merkel, daughter of a Protestant pastor, voted against the bill.

Hundreds of gay activists, some with painted faces, celebrated outside the Bundestag lower house of parliament after the vote, waving rainbow flags and placards that read “Marriage for all – make love for all”.

“This is simply a historic day for Germany,” said Soeren Landmann, a marriage equality activist. “Today, thousands of same-sex couples were given equality, and the two-class society in matters of love was abolished. Germany can really rejoice today.”

The vote has particular resonance in Germany as it unwinds a legacy of virulent homophobia. Earlier this year parliament agreed to grant compensation to thousands of gay men jailed under a 19th century law that was strengthened by the Nazis and only dropped in 1969 when homosexuality was decriminalized in West Germany.

comments