Gay German couple first to wed

family law, LGBT

A gay couple in Germany have become the first to legally marry in the country.

After the Mitglieder des Bundestages (Members of the Federal Parliament) voted in favour of legalisation back in June, the new law came into effect on Sunday. The Parliament’s vote took place shortly after Chancellor Angela Merkel dropped her long-held opposition to the idea.

Karl Kreile and Bodo Mende wasted no time in taking advantage of their new legal right and married in a ceremony at the town hall in Schöneberg, a southern district of Berlin. The couple had been together for 38 years before they were finally able to say their vows.

Speaking to the Guardian prior to the ceremony, Kreile said they had “actively campaigned for decades for the state to recognise us as equals” and the new law allowed them “to celebrate a day we once thought may never come in our lifetimes”.

Mende, who has lived in Schöneberg for many years, said it was fitting that the country’s first same sex wedding should take place there as the district “has been shaped by the way it has stood up for gay rights for the best part of a century”.

He added:

“The world’s first gay and trans bars started here, and it has survived two world wars and many attempts to eliminate it.”

The ceremony was attended by the couple’s family, friends and many of their fellow LGBT rights campaigners. The guests cheered and applauded the historic moment when Kreile and Mende signed their marriage documents.

Although registry offices in Germany are usually closed on a Sunday, this week many across the country made an exception to give same sex couples the opportunity to marry on the first day it was possible to do so.

Photo of Schöneberg by Oh-Berlin.com via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence.

Stowe Family Law Web Team

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