Green party MPs toss confetti across chamber and gay couples kiss in gallery, while Angela Merkel votes no despite permitting bill
German MPs have voted in favour of legalising same-sex marriage, prompting joyous and unusual scenes in parliament as Green party politicians tossed glittered confetti across the chamber and gay couples sitting in the public gallery kissed and embraced.
The vote by 393 to 226, with four abstentions, followed 40 minutes of often heated and highly emotional debate, reflecting a wider, decades-long argument over marriage equality. The German chancellor, Angela Merkel, voted against the move, despite having paved the way for the laws passage by inviting MPs to vote according to their conscience.
Merkel had appeared to shift her longstanding opposition to gay marriage on Monday, when she said that she considered the values lived out in a same-sex partnership equal to those in a heterosexual marriage. After dropping a red no card into the ballot box in the Bundestag, she explained: For me, marriage as defined by law is marriage between a man and a woman.
It was a long, intensive, and for many also emotional discussion, that goes for me personally too, and Im hopeful not only that there will be respect for either sides opinions, but that it will also bring about more peace and cohesion in society, she said.