Gay Marriage Now Legal in Germany
The German Parliament voted in majority the legalization of gay marriage, sending waves of jubilation among the LGBT community in the European nation.
German lawmakers voted by a wide margin to legalize same-sex marriage, with 393 votes to 226, with four abstentions.
The new bill gives homosexual couples in Germany the same rights as heterosexual couples. This means they should not be denied marriage licenses. In addition, same-sex couples will also be given privileges to adopt children.
If passed into law, Germany will join the club of European countries where same-sex marriage is legal.
The Happy Gays and Lesbians
A crowd of same-sex marriage supporters who waited outside the parliament building cheered and chanted with jubilation when the bill was passed. Gay rights groups and supporters hailed the outcome as celebration of tolerance and equality.
Arnd Bächler, a counselor and addiction therapist at Berlin’s gay counseling center said, “It’s very positive for the self-esteem of gays and lesbians; it’s very important for people coming out, knowing that they have this equality; and it sends a clear message to any homophobic refugees coming to Germany: We have equality here.”
Other well-known gay organization like the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association in Europe also welcomed the new bill.
ILGA-Europe executive director Evelyne Paradis said, “After years of waiting and hoping, rainbow families in Germany will now receive equal recognition under the law — this is a historic milestone that can inspire even more change for LGBTI people.”
Chancellor Angela Merkel Voted ‘No’
Chancellor Angela Merkel has been vocal on her opposition on legalizing same-sex marriage. However, Merkel stressed the importance to put it to a vote of conscience.
Merkel said, “For me and the basic law, it’s about the marriage of a woman and a man. That’s why I voted against it.”
Amid the outcome of the vote, Merkel expressed her respect to the voice of majority.
Merkel added, “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.”
More Countries Joining the Bandwagon
By legalizing gay marriage, Germany became the 15th European country to allow same-sex couples to enter into civil unions.
More countries have legalized gay marriage since 2001 when the Netherlands became the first country to legalize same-sex marriage. So far, two dozen countries have enacted national laws allowing gays and lesbians to marry, mostly in Europe and the Americas.