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rmany's parliament voting Friday to legalize same-sex marriage, and the change has come with stunning swiftness. Most social reforms in the country come about after months, if not years, of agonized public scrutiny. This one happened when Chancellor Angela Merkel just this week suggested she was open to debate on the matter.
A gambit that was supposed to push the issue back until after September's election. But left leaning law makers pounced on her remarks and forced an early vote. Merkel herself stuck to her guns and voted against.>>
> It's true what they said in todays debate. It was a long intensive debate, and for many an emotionally moving discussion. This also goes for me personally.>> The majority of western European countries, including the UK, France, Spain, and the Netherlands, legalized gay marriage years ago.
But Germany, where Catholicism is the dominant religion, only recognized registered life partnerships. Under the new law, gay couples will get full marriage rights, including the option to jointly adopt children. At an event on Tuesday, Merkel said she had taken note of other German parties favoring same-sex marriage, and allowed the vote to be one of consciense, meaning her Christian Democratic Union lawmakers could vote as they chose.
Now the change comes just three months before national elections, some suggesting it has taken away one main line of attack for political rivals. The Social Democrats and the Greens had long supported legalization. But the vote has also angered conservative elements within her own party, some calling her change of stance a breach of trust.