NEWS

Germany Votes To Legalize Same-Sex Marriage In Snap Vote

Chancellor Angela Merkel changed her longstanding position just days ago.

06/30/2017 06:56 EDT | Updated 06/30/2017 06:58 EDT

BERLIN — German lawmakers have voted to legalize same-sex marriage in a snap vote only days after Chancellor Angela Merkel changed her longstanding position.

Lawmakers voted 393 for legalizing "marriage for everybody" and 226 against with 4 abstentions.

Merkel herself voted against the measure, but paved the way for Friday's vote after saying Monday that lawmakers could take up the issue as a "question of conscience" — freeing members of her conservative coalition, which has been against same-sex marriage, to individually vote for it.

Germany has allowed same-sex couples to enter civil partnerships since 2001, but same-sex marriages remain illegal.

All of Merkel's potential coalition partners after the Sept. 24 election, including the centre-left Social Democrats of her challenger, Martin Schulz, have been calling for same-sex marriage to be legalized.