Germany’s president has signed a bill to make same-sex marriage legal.
President Frank-Walter Steinmeier signed the legislation late yesterday (20 July). It will come into force on 1 October at the earliest.
Lawmakers approved the bill on 30 June, with 393 politicians voting for marriage equality while 266 voted against.
Chancellor Angela Merkel voted against same-sex marriage.
However, she freed her Christian Democrats from the party whip on the issue calling for a ‘vote of conscience’.
The reform gives same-sex couples full marital rights, and allows them to adopt children.
The German legal code will now read: ‘Marriage is entered into for life by two people of different or the same sex’.
‘We are feeling really emotional,’ Markus Ulrich from the Lesbian and Gay Federation in Germany told Gay Star News.
‘Especially for people who have fought for 25 years for this moment. It’s quite amazing. It’s super exciting. We’re really thankful.’
Called by the centre-left Social Democrat Party, the amendment was entitled ‘marriage for all’. It had majority support in the Bundestag from the Left party and the Greens.
Germany has allowed same-sex couples to enter civil partnerships since 2001, but same-sex marriages were not allowed.
In a recent poll, 83% of Germans backed marriage equality.