German Chancellor open to free vote on gay marriage

gay marriage

Despite previous opposition German Chancellor Angela Merkel is willing to give MPs a free vote on the issue of gay marriage.

Merkel, Chancellor since 2005, is also leader of the right-of-centre Christlich Demokratische Union Deutschlands (Christian Democratic Union), a political party which has maintained a longstanding opposition to the legalisation of same sex marriage in Germany. In 2015 Merkel said she thought the word Ehe (marriage) should be reserved for unions between men and women.

But momentum within Germany for legalisation appears to be building. Earlier this month the Bundesverfassungsgericht, the German equivalent of the High Court, rejected a bid to force Parliament to vote on the issue.

Meanwhile, polls suggest popular support for change. Now, following pressure from rival parties, including coalition partners the Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands (Social Democratic Party of Germany), the 62 year-old Chancellor says she would be willing to allow the free vote,

This week she told women’;s magazine Brigitte:

“I would rather like to shift the discussion in a direction of a vote of conscience, rather than imposing anything from the top.”

Her thinking had shifted, she explained, after meeting a lesbian couple who had fostered eight children in her own constituency.

Merkel plans to stand for a fourth term as Chancellor later this year.

Photo by European People’s Party via Wikipedia under a Creative Commons licence

Stowe Family Law Web Team

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