Germany has finally joined the ranks of Western countries that have legalized same-sex marriage.
In an overwhelming vote, German Parliament voted 393 in favor, 226 against, while four lawmakers abstained. The new legislation will also give same-sex couples the same rights as heterosexual couples, including adoption.
The legislation is expected to take full effect by the end of 2017.
“It was a long, intensive, and for many also emotional discussion, that goes for me personally too, and I’m hopeful not only that there will be respect for either side’s opinions, but that it will also bring about more peace and cohesion in society,” said Merkel.
The vote comes just a week after German Parliament wiped the slate clean for over 50,000 gay men who were imprisoned under Nazi-enforced laws in the last century. They were also offered compensation for every year that they spent in jail.
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