How One Lesbian Couple Changed Angela Merkel's Mind About Marriage Equality

Photo: THIERRY CHARLIER/AFP/Getty Images.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel elicited shockwaves throughout not just Germany, but the world, when she announced that she was open to a vote on the issue of marriage equality. The Chancellor was formerly against the idea, having stated that she believed marriage was between a man and a woman.
So, what changed? Well, it turns out that Merkel's views were changed the same way that so many people's are — by meeting a same-sex couple and spending time with them and their family. At a recent event with women’s magazine Brigitte, Merkel said she had "a life-changing experience in my home constituency," after being invited to have dinner with a lesbian couple and their eight foster children.
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A large part of Merkel's argument against marriage equality had been out of concern for “the well-being of children," according to Pink News. But, Merkel said to Brigitte, "If the youth welfare service entrusts a lesbian couple with eight foster children, then the state could no longer use child welfare as an argument against adoptions."
But research shows that Merkel is not alone in having her mind changed by getting to know queer people. Data from Pew research shows that people who know a gay person are much more likely to support marriage equality than those who don't. Not only that, but as more and more people come out, the majority of Americans say they know someone who is gay.
Another example of this is Republican Senator Rob Portman, who announced his support for marriage equality after his son came out — a complete reversal of his previously held opposition against it. It's just as Harvey Milk predicted in the late-1970s when he famously said, “I would like to see every gay doctor come out, every gay lawyer, every gay architect come out, stand up and let the world know. That would do more to end prejudice overnight than anybody would imagine.”
People are predicting that a vote on the issue in Germany could legalize marriage equality as soon as this week, since the majority of Germans have voiced support for the idea. And that would be very cool indeed.
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