German President Frank Walter Steinmeier signed legislation calling for the legalization of gay marriage Thursday, formally enacting the bill less than a month after it was approved by parliament in late June.
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative party long refused to budge on the issue but was convinced when she said she would allow them to vote based on their conscience. The president’s signing indicates that the legislation will take effect Oct 1 at the earliest.
Germany has allowed gay couples to form civil partnerships since 2001 but was lagging behind its European peers in its granting them full marital rights. Now gay couples have that and the legal authority to jointly adopt children.
“Marriage is a question of love and responsibility and not of gender,” Katarina Barley, the minister for families, said.
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