Monday, July 03, 2017

Equality comes to Germany

Over the weekend the German Parliament voted for marriage equality:

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 law’s passage by inviting MPs to vote according to their conscience.

Like New Zealand getting MMP, this appears to have come about by accident: Merkel made some comments in the media about it being time to vote on the issue in an effort to pre-position herself to accept marriage equality as the price of government in a future coalition deal, but the Social Democrats called her bluff and got a bill up quickly. And so suddenly Germany has joined the modern world. Which leaves Italy as the next major target in Europe.