Germany celebrates 1st same-sex marriages after law change


Germany celebrated its first same-sex weddings Sunday, after a new law came into force putting gay and lesbian couples on an equal legal footing with heterosexual couples.

Town halls in Berlin, Hamburg and elsewhere opened their doors to mark the event, made possible by a surprise vote in Parliament three months earlier.

via AP

Germany introduced registered partnerships in 2002, but those gave same-sex couples fewer rights than heterosexual couples who married.

Chancellor Angela Merkel long opposed same-sex marriages, only agreeing to a free vote in Parliament on the matter in June, shortly before national elections.

The bill, which enjoyed strong public support, passed by a wide margin, with 393 lawmakers voting in favor of marriage equality and 226 — including Merkel — voting against.