Germany’s parliament has voted to redefine marriage and to allow same-sex adoption.
This morning, lawmakers voted 393 to 226 in favour of a change to the country’s legal code, which redefines marriage as a union “entered into for life by two people of different or the same sex”. Previously, same-sex couples could only enter a civil union.
The free vote also meant full adoption rights being extended to gay and lesbian couples who enter a same-sex marriage.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel voted against the change, citing her personal belief that marriage is between one man and one woman.
But she did not express opposition to gay adoption and appeared to welcome the outcome, saying she hoped it would bring social cohesion.
It is thought that the law will come into force before the end of the year, after it is approved by the upper house of the German parliament and the president. It could, however, face legal challenges in the coming weeks.
Marriage is still defined as the union of one man and one woman in over 170 countries, including Australia, Japan, Italy and Greece.
Only 22 countries have introduced same-sex marriage, including 12 European nations.
Northern Ireland remains the only part of the United Kingdom to retain the biblical definition of marriage.
Following Stormont’s fifth vote in five years on the issue in 2015, The Christian Institute’s Northern Ireland Officer, Callum Webster, said the Province “needs to resist pressure from a co-ordinated campaign”.
“A small number of activists might be pushing for this change, but the people of Northern Ireland do not want to see such a fundamental building block of society redefined.”