Germany’s parliament votes to legalize marriage equality

The lower house of Germany’s legislature, the Bundestag, voted to legally recognize marriage between two members of the same sex this morning in a 393 to 226 vote.

The Bundesrat, the upper house, will have to vote on the measure next week and is expected to approve marriage equality, as it has done in the past. Same-sex couples will then be able to marry by the end of 2017 in Germany.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, though, voted against the measure.

“For me and the basic law, it’s about the marriage of a woman and a man. That’s why I voted against it,” she said shortly after vote. “I hope that the vote today shows not only the mutual respect for different opinions but that this also leads to more peace and social cohesion as well.”

Merkel has found herself in a difficult position as elections approach in September. Her main rival, Social Democrat Martin Schulz, has been a champion of marriage equality, while Merkel has long opposed it. A poll earlier this year showed that 68% of German people favor marriage equality, but Merkel’s conservative Christian Democratic Union has long opposed LGBTQ rights.

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