German parliament paves way for gay marriage vote Friday
German parliament paves way for gay marriage vote Friday
Germany Gay Marriage
28 June, 2017, 16:16
Angela Merkel has signalled she will allow German MPs a free vote on same-sex marriage, in what many are seeing as an attempt to woo liberal voters ahead of September's parliamentary election. All three are potential coalition partners for the CDU if Mrs Merkel wins a fourth term.
Following her surprising statement, German politicians took to Twitter and called for a vote to legalize same-sex marriage as soon as possible.
Speaking at a forum Monday evening (26 June), Merkel said she was open to a vote of conscience on the issue, in which lawmakers are freed from toeing the party line - and in which the reform would nearly certainly pass. The move could antagonise some in Merkel's traditionally Catholic conservative bloc.
She said same-sex marriage was "a really personal matter", so she wanted the CDU and its Bavarian allies, the CSU, "to react differently to this question".
Martin Schulz, leader of the country's Social Democratic Party, tweeted in his native language, "We will push through marriage equality". "I hope our colleagues in the conservatives will cooperate", he said, raising the pressure on his conservative partners who want a vote after the election.
He also accused Merkel of failing to stand up against US President Donald Trump and sharply criticized Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, saying he should release jailed journalists.
The vote is likely to pass with strong support from other German parties and from some lawmakers within Merkel's CDU.
Mr Schroeder said the SPD made up more than 20 points in the polls in a few weeks in 2005 and ended up only one percentage point short of Dr Merkel's conservatives.
This is a significant shift for Merkel, who in 2013 said she opposed same-sex unions for "the well-being of children". "The vote for marriage equality can be held this week". "I will sign no coalition deal in which marriage for all is not inscribed", he said.
At this week's event, Merkel claimed that a visit to the home of a lesbian couple looking after eight foster children in her constituency in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern had led her to reconsider her position.
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