Ger­many le­gal­izes same-sex mar­riage

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - INTERNATIONAL -

BERLIN — Ger­many’s pres­i­dent has signed leg­is­la­tion le­gal­iz­ing gay mar­riage, his of­fice said Fri­day, paving the way for the bill to take ef­fect this fall.

Law­mak­ers ap­proved the bill June 30 in Par­lia­ment’s last ses­sion be­fore Ger­many’s Septem­ber elec­tion. The move be­came pos­si­ble af­ter Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel, whose con­ser­va­tive party had long been re­luc­tant to budge on the is­sue, said she would al­low its law­mak­ers to vote ac­cord­ing to their con­science.

The pres­i­den­tial of­fice said Pres­i­dent Frank-Wal­ter Stein­meier signed the leg­is­la­tion Thurs­day. That means it will come into force Oct. 1 at the ear­li­est.

Ger­many has al­lowed same-sex cou­ples to en­ter civil part­ner­ships since 2001 but un­til now has not granted them full mar­i­tal rights, such as the pos­si­bil­ity of jointly adopt­ing chil­dren.

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