A clear majority of German MPs have voted to legalise same-sex marriage, days after Chancellor Angela Merkel dropped her opposition to a vote.
The reform grants couples now limited to civil unions full marital rights, and allows them to adopt children. Mrs Merkel’s political opponents were strongly in favour.
But the chancellor, who signalled her backing for a free vote only on Monday, voted against.
The bill was backed by 393 lawmakers, 226 voted against and four abstained.
The German legal code will now read: “Marriage is entered into for life by two people of different or the same sex”, AFP news agency reported.
Following Friday’s vote, Mrs Merkel said that for her marriage was between a man and a woman. But she said she hoped the passing of the bill would lead to more “social cohesion and peace”.
Does same-sex marriage have popular support? Yes – a recent survey by the government’s anti-discrimination agency found that 83% of Germans were in favour of marriage equality.
The day after the Republic of Ireland voted to legalise gay marriage in May 2015, almost every German newspaper splashed a rainbow across its front page.
“It’s time, Mrs Merkel” Green party leader Katrin Goering-Eckhart said then. “The Merkel faction cannot just sit out the debate on marriage for everyone.”