Merkel Opens Door For Gay Marriage Vote

German Chancellor's comments signal a change in her party's stance on same-sex marriage

angela merkel in a red jacket with arms outstretch at a 90 degree angle, palms facing upwards

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has hinted at a change in her party’s opposition to gay marriage by suggesting that MPs should be allowed a free vote on the subject.

Speaking at a magazine event in Berlin, Merkel told the audience that she hoped it would be headed “towards a conscience vote”. Chancellor Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) have previously opposed same-sex marriage in a bid to appease its conservative supporters, unlike the opposition Social Democrats (SPD), Free Democrats (FDP) and Greens, reports BBC.

Merkel added that the subject of same-sex marriage was “a really personal matter”, and urged against politicisation of the issue. The liberal and conservative wings of the CDU are in conflict over the matter, however.

Germany has had civil partnerships since 2001 but remains one of the few Western European countries without full marriage equality for same-sex couples.

According to media reports, the CDU spent over an hour and a half discussing the issue of marriage equality during its manifesto preperations at the weekend.

Cynics have pointed out that Merkel’s softening on the issue come just three months before federal elections. For her part, Merkel – who, in 2013, said she had “difficulties” adoption by LGBT couples – has attributed her change of heart to a meeting with a lesbian foster mother of eight in her constituency of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. If the Youth Authority entrusts the care of children to such couples, she said, then “I can no longer argue so simply on the basis of children’s welfare”.

Merkel’s comment’s sparked frenzied debate across social media platforms, with the hashtag #Ehefüralle (marriage for all) trending on Twitter.

© 2017 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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