Sunday, July 9, 2017

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Germany Is Ready To Legalize Same-Sex Marriages

Lena M, writing @ Atheist Republic, welcomes Germany's decision to legalise same sex marriages.

Photo Credits: Wikimedia

Germany will now join Ireland, France, Spain and other nations in extending full marital rights to same-sex couples, including the right to adopt children. The lower house of the German Parliament voted on Friday morning to legalize same-sex marriage but in order to become a bill the measure must receive the approval by the upper house of Parliament and the signature of President Frank-Walter Steinmeier. That signature should come sometime after July 7.

Ms. Merkel voted against the measure on Friday, but many of her party colleagues voted in favor, including her chief of staff, Peter Altmaier, and the defense minister, Ursula von der Leyen. That happened because Ms. Merkel relaxed her party’s opposition to same-sex marriage and allowed lawmakers to vote on the issue according to their consciences. Despite the fact that she had come to support the right of same-sex couples to adopt, Ms. Merkel still believes that marriage ought to remain a union between a man and a woman. “I hope that with today’s vote, not only that mutual respect is there between the individual positions, but also that an amount of social peace and togetherness can be created,” Ms. Merkel said after the vote.

Same-sex couples in Germany have been able to register life partnerships since 2001, and opinion polls have shown for years that most Germans favor legalizing same-sex marriage. Conservatives had consistently prevented the issue from coming to a vote in Parliament until now. Hundreds of gay activists, some with painted faces, celebrated outside the Bundestag lower house of parliament after the vote, waving rainbow flags and placards that read "Marriage for all - make love for all".

“If gay marriage is decided, then many will receive something, but nobody will have something taken away,” Thomas Oppermann, the parliamentary leader of the Social Democrats, said in opening the floor debate. Christine Lüders, the director of Germany’s anti-discrimination agency, hit back against the fundamentalist Christian groups and others who opposed the vote. She said it is “not about special rights for anyone, but about equal rights.” She said: “I am certain that just a few years from now, as a society, we will look back on this decision on marriage equality and ask ourselves, ‘Why on earth did it take us so long?’”

For some institutions, it should have taken much longer. The Catholic Church said it regretted the decision. "An appreciation of same-sex cohabitation can also be expressed by a different institutional design," said Archbishop Heiner Kochof of Berlin. Volker Kauder, the leader of the conservative bloc in Parliament, said: “To me, it remains clear that same-sex partnership is not the same thing as a marriage. In our cultural circles, marriage has for centuries been a union between man and woman.”

Centuries are coming and passing and in the 21st century some things need to be changed to make the human race progress.

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