Same-sex marriage in Germany: A lost vote for Merkel, or a part of canny politics?

In her latest blog, our Elli Hoai Anh analyzes the vote on same-sex marriage in Germany from a standpoint of Merkel's party politics.

  • Recently, a landmark decision was passed in Germany, positioning the country in line with Norway, France, Netherlands, and other European nations, which have already approved legislation in favor of same-sex marriage. Although Merkel personally voted against, the Chancellor paved the way for legalizing same-sex marriage by calling for a ‘vote of conscience’.
  • This has allowed the members of her ruling conservative bloc to vote according to their convictions rather than toeing party line. As a result, German lawmakers have voted by a wide margin to legalize same-sex marriage, making it possible for homosexual couples to enjoy the same rights as heterosexual couples: i.e. they are granted full marital rights and the right to adopt children.
  • However, why did the vote come about so suddenly, and why is this important now, especially ahead of the September general election?

Despite her opposition vote being lost, Merkel has managed to earn the contentment of the conservative members, while keeping the progressive voters happy. Legalizing same-sex marriage will, therefore, most likely come to her advantage as she seeks a fourth term in the upcoming German federal election.

Nonetheless, Merkel’s masterfully calibrated shift resembles a rather reoccurring pattern in her long-lasting political governance. Merkel has proved her ability to shift positions from the very beginning.

If Merkel is to win a majority in the upcoming election, she will most likely seek a coalition with parties supportive of same-sex marriage. In fact, the Social Democrats, Free Democrats, and the Greens have already indicated that legalizing same-sex marriage would have been a critical condition for joining any future coalition with the conservatives.

The full article is available on

#Angela Merkel # CDU # CSU # German elections # Germany # LGBTQ # Martin Schulz # Same-sex marriage

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