Last Friday, German parliament voted in favor of same-sex “marriage” with 393 of 623 votes (out of a total of 630 delegates).  Civil unions for same-sex couples had been possible since 2001. Nevertheless, the green party, social democrats and liberals had been campaigning for “more” – with the slogan “Ehe für alle” – “marriage for all” (surely they do not mean everybody must marry? yet if they mean everybody may marry whomever they want, we have a long way still to go, as marriage of e.g. your own sister or son is not yet legal even now).

Legalization of same-sex marriage had been a declared aim of the current junior coalition partner, the social democrats, during the last election campaign already. Nevertheless, they did not really pursue this during the current legislative period – until the next election loomed. Even then, the CDU/CSU would have been able to hold out, had it not been for a fateful interview of Angela Merkel with – of all things – a women’s magazine.

When a gay member of the audience asked her about the CDU/CSU stance on gay marriage, now that all potential opposition partners have made the legalization of it a prerequisite for any future coalition, she first deplored the politization of this topic and then said:

I find it is not appropriate for marriage –  and same-sex couples live the same values of commitment, after all – I find it is not really appropriate, to approach this in a helter-skelter way. And therefore we will pay very close attention to this question, given the current situation we have in Germany,  but in a different way.

I know within the CDU – and I include myself – many people who have thought a lot about this topic, who have long said that the same values are lived there, but who nevertheless, somehow, maybe grew up with the feeling that man and woman, that simply is marriage as we know it; and the other thing is an equally valuable partnership; and of course, certainly, for those who are affiliated with a church quite a number of other issues play a role; and for this reason I want to lead this discussion into a direction where it is more a decision of conscience, rather than forcing something through by majority vote. And I would wish that in spite of the election campaign this discussion is led with great respect, and with consideration for those who have problems with such a decision.

[My translation and emphasis; a video of this part of the interview can be found here; beware: this is a site of LGBT activists…]

The social democrats promptly pounced on this (through either sincere conviction or simple stupidity) and scheduled the vote for the last day parliament sat before the election. The social democrats plus the opposition would have had the required majority entirely without the CDU, but Mrs. Merkel made it a free vote for the CDU/CSU – and lo and behold, one quarter of their delegates voted in favour, too (including the CDU delegate of my constituency).

So, at the very same day that I was claiming to an US-citizen that our lesser evil at current elections was less evil than theirs, Germany finally fully joined the club of shame.

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