Germany’s Bundestag (Parliament) has voted to legalized same-sex marriage, putting it on course to join the more than 20 countries where same-sex marriage is legal.
CNN reports that the measure passed Friday by 393 to 226, with four extensions. Among the no votes was Chancellor Angela Merkel. The bill is likely to pass Germany’s upper house, the Bundesrat, next week, CNN said, as the upper house had previously voted to make same-sex marriage legal.
According to NPR, the sudden vote could have been called due to looming national elections in the fall. 83 percent of Germans favor same-sex marriage, including a majority in Chancellor Merkel’s political party. During an interview earlier this week, Merkel said she thought MPs should “vote their conscience” on the issue, prompting challenger party the SPD to call for the vote.
According the Deustche Welle, the move will allow same-sex couples in Germany to adopt children, as well as bring Germany in line with several other countries in Europe. 14 European countries have legalized same-sex marriage, starting with the Netherlands in 2001. German law currently allows civil partnerships for same-sex couples, but not full marital rights, including the possibility to jointly adopt children.