LGBTQ+ Pride Month

The German Parliament Just Voted To Legalize Same-Sex Marriage

A wonderful end to Pride Month.

LGBTQ Pride Month ended on a high note Friday, as the German Parliament voted 393 to 226 to legalize same-sex marriage in the country. Germany is now the 23rd country in the world to make such a decision, joining fellow European nations such as France and Ireland.

"It's a joyous turning-point," gay rights activist and Parliament member Volker Beck said of the vote, according to the Washington Post. "Equality and civil rights have been achieved."

Just this week, German Chancellor Angela Merkel made a tactful statement on the issue, opening the door for lawmakers to vote with their "conscience" rather than according to party lines. Ultimately, Merkel herself voted no.

"If the Constitution guarantees one thing, it is that anyone in this country can live as they wish," Thomas Oppermann, leader of the Social Democrats, said in a debate on the issue, according to the New York Times. "If gay marriage is decided, then many will receive something, but nobody will have something taken away."

Germany introduced civil unions for same-sex couples in 2001. A poll conducted in May showed that 66 percent of 1,099 respondents were in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage, while 57 percent were in favor of allowing gay couples to adopt children. 

The German Parliament made another big decision for the LGBTQ community earlier this month when it voted unanimously to void the convictions of some 50,000 men under an anti-gay law since World War II. The approximately 5,000 men who are still living will each receive 3,000 euros, as well as an additional 1,500 for each year spent in prison.

The New York Times reports that, according to activist Katrin Hugendubel, Germany's vote on gay marriage could "build momentum" for similar decisions in German-speaking countries such as Austria and Switzerland.

Cover image: Peter Scholz / Shutterstock.com

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