German lawmakers vote to legalize same-sex marriage

Green Party's gay rights activist Volker Beck, front right, and fellow faction members celebrate with a confetti popper after German Federal Parliament, Bundestag, voted to legalize same-sex marriage in Berlin, Germany, Friday, June 30, 2017. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

BERLIN (AP) – German lawmakers have voted to legalize same-sex marriage in a snap vote only days after Chancellor Angela Merkel changed her longstanding position.

Lawmakers voted 393 for legalizing “marriage for everybody” and 226 against with 4 abstentions.

Merkel herself voted against the measure, but paved the way for Friday’s vote after saying Monday that lawmakers could take up the issue as a “question of conscience” – freeing members of her conservative coalition, which has been against same-sex marriage, to individually vote for it.

Germany has allowed same-sex couples to enter civil partnerships since 2001, but same-sex marriages remain illegal.

All of Merkel’s potential coalition partners after the Sept. 24 election, including the center-left Social Democrats of her challenger, Martin Schulz, have been calling for same-sex marriage to be legalized.

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