The German Parliament is set to vote on a historic move allowing gay marriage after Chancellor Angela Merkel hinted she is in favor of same-sex unions, breaking with her Christian Democratic party’s tradition during an election cycle.
The majority of German citizens support gay marriage, according to polls, but if the bill succeeds it's likely to ensure Merkel and her party a victory in the upcoming elections.
At the same time, however, the more socially conservative lawmakers in her own party are expected to withhold support for the measure in a roll-call vote on Friday in Berlin.
The Social Democratic Party, the opposition to a Merkel, called her bluff this week and called for an immediate vote after the Chancellor suggested that she was abandoning her opposition to gay marriage.
This being the final week before lawmakers go on their summer break, Germany’s political agenda is now focused on the gay marriage vote ahead of the national election on September 24th.
“It’s unclear whether she intended this, but it certainly won’t harm her,” said Manfred Guellner, head of the Forsa polling company. “On the contrary, the topic will no longer bother Merkel during the election campaign because it will be gone.”
The legalization of gay marriage would bring Germany into the modern era with same policies towards homosexuals as most of the European Union partners, including France, Spain and Ireland, and also the U.S., where the Supreme Court ruled in 2015 that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry in all 50 states.