Germany held its first gay wedding Monday after legalizing same-sex marriage in a sudden vote in Parliament roughly three months ago.
The wedding took place in the city of Schoeneberg, which has held numerous gay pride and LGBTQ events. The pair, Karl Kreile and Bodo Mende, married in the town hall’s Golden Room. Kreile told reporters what an incredible honor it was to be the first gay couple to wed in Germany.
The bill legalizing marriage — which passed in a 393-226 vote — also allows gay couples to adopt children.
“For me, marriage in German law is marriage between a man and a woman and that is why I did not vote in favor of this bill today,” Germany’s prime minster Angela Merkel told reporters after the vote. “I hope that the vote today not only promotes respect between different opinions but also brings more social cohesion and peace.” (Related: Germany Legalizes Gay Marriage, Merkel Votes Against).
Germany legalized civil unions for gay partners in 2002, but gay marriage wasn’t legal until the last day of June this year.
“We’re making a single exception to fire a symbolic starter pistol because same-sex marriages are possible from today,” said Gordon Holland, a registrar in Berlin’s Schoeneberg district according to the Independent.
“This day sends a significant signal, which is that the state’s discrimination of lesbians and gays is finished,” Joerg Steinert, head of Berlin’s lesbian and gay association, added to the report. “This was long overdue in Germany and so this is a day of great joy.”
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