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Lawmakers pass same-sex marriage law

It was also reported that more than 70 members of Merkel's conservative bloc must have voted in favor of the bill for it to pass.

Germany legalised civil unions in 2001
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DW reports that Germany joins many other western democracies and European countries in granting gay and lesbian couples full rights, including adoption.

It was reported that the parliament passed the bill legalizing same-sex marriages in a snap vote that made it onto the agenda before the summer break after a surprise shift by Chancellor Angela Merkel.

While Merkel reportedly voted against the bill despite her take, the bill was passed by 393 to 226, with four abstentions.

Volker Beck of the Green party, who has long advocated legalizing same-sex marriage, called the vote "a success for democracy," citing opinion polls showing that 80 percent of Germans were in favor of allowing homosexual couples to marry and adopt children.

Merkel reportedly explained her "no" vote saying that she understood the definition of marriage as referring solely to unions between men and women.

The Chancellor also said, that she hoped the vote to approve gay marriage would lead to "more social peace."

Germany joins 14 other European countries who have now made gay marriage legal, with the Netherlands leading the way in 2001.

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