Germany legalizes gay marriage

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PV International desk : German lawmakers voted by a wide margin to legalize same-sex marriage Friday, a landmark decision which came just days after Chancellor Angela Merkel dropped her longstanding opposition to a free vote on the issue.

The bill gives homosexual couples in Germany the same rights as heterosexual couples, and will allow same-sex couples to marry and jointly adopt children. It passed by 393 votes to 226, with four abstentions, reports the CNN.

The bill is likely to pass through the Bundesrat — Germany’s upper house — next week. The Bundesrat has previously approved legalizing same-sex marriage.

Once it has been officially signed into law, Germany will enter the club of more than 20 countries where same-sex marriage is legal.

Two-thirds of Germans said they were in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage in a recent YouGov poll.

Speaking after the vote, Merkel said she had voted no on the issue, but that it had been important to put it to a vote of conscience.