Local LGBTI advocates have welcomed German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s suggestion she would grant her conservative MPs a conscience vote on marriage equality.
Merkel said this week she had taken note of other party’s support for same-sex marriage and would allow her MPs a free vote, The Washington Post reported.
“I would like to lead the discussion more into a situation where it is a question of conscience rather than something I push through with a majority vote,” she said.
Germany will go to an election in September. By granting the free vote, Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union party could negotiate a coalition partnership after the election with three more parties who made such a vote on marriage a condition of their support.
But Social Democrats leader Martin Schulz said his party would push for a vote on the reform in the German parliament this week.
Merkel’s comments sent the hashtag #EheFuerAlle (“MarriageForAll”) trending on Twitter in the country overnight, The Local reported.
Axel Hochrein from Germany’s Lesbian and Gay Federation told the Washington Post he welcomed Merkel’s statement but it was long overdue.
“We are happy that this will happen now, but we are not happy about the years of discussions,” Hochrein said.
“There has been a majority in Parliament for eight years.”
He told the publication recognising same-sex marriage would bring Germany in line with European relatives.
Spokesperson for Australian group Just.equal, Rodney Croome, praised Merkel for the vote and called on Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to do the same.
“Angela Merkel has done the right thing by same-sex couples, Germany and her party by allowing a free vote on marriage equality,” he said.
“We call on Malcolm Turnbull to follow Angela Merkel’s example and allow a free vote on marriage equality as soon as possible.”
(Top photo by Marc Müller/MSC)