When Angela Merkel, the Vice Chancellor of Germany visited a lesbian couple and saw them providing a warm and a conducive home for 8 foster children, it changed her life. So much so, that she went on to usher change in the parliament and now, the LGBTQ community in Germany has everything they can wish for. Welcome to a progressive Germany- the country has legalised same sex marriage. By Devyani Nighoskar
Although Germany had allowed registered life partnerships for same sex couples since 2001, they enjoyed far fewer rights than married couples did. The bill for the legalization of same sex marriage had been pending in Bundestag, Germany’s lower house for the past two years, even though 80% of the public, according to government polls, was in favour of it. It was continually being adjourned and opposed by Mrs Merkel’s Christian Democrat Party (CDU) in concern for children’s welfare. The LGBT community continued facing discrimination as their children were part of families that weren’t exactly recognized by law as ‘regular’ families. But after the heart-warming interaction with the lesbian couple, on June 26th, 2017; Merkel had a change of heart, and she agreed to let her party have a free vote on the issue. She asked the party members to ‘follow their conscience.’
The parliament voted by 393 to 226 on Friday in favour of same-sex marriage, though Merkel, who will be seeking a fourth term in the national elections, this September; ultimately voted against it; emphasising that her decision was a personal one. “For me, marriage in the German constitution is between a man and a woman. That’s why I voted ‘no’ today,” Mrs Merkel told journalists after the vote, according to a report in Telegraph. But she stressed that she supports full adoption rights for gay couples.
This landmark reform gives full marital rights for same-sex couples and allows them to adopt children as well. This year, Germany is the second country after Finland to legalise same sex marriage. It is the 14th country in Europe and the 23rd worldwide.This seems like a good time to visit Germany and be coloured in pride as #EheFuerAlle (Marriage for all) is still trending and the country is euphoric in celebrations.