Germany on Friday recognized the right of same-sex couples to wed, a major step for gay women and men living in a country split between conservative, Christian customs and modernizing forces.
The German Parliament voted 393-226 to modify the country’s civil code, reshaping the institution of marriage with little fanfare but enormous significance as Germany prepares to join much of the Western world in codifying marriage equality.
Since 2001, Germany has allowed civil partnerships, which afford many of the same benefits accruing to married couples, with the notable exception of the right to joint adoption.
The German Chancellor was seen voting with a “red card”, indicating a no vote, at the end of a heated debate in the Bundestag.
“For me, marriage in German law is marriage between a man and a woman and that is why I did not vote in favour of this bill today,” she told reporters moments after the historic vote.