On Friday, members of the German Parliament voted to legalize same-sex marriage, a move that brings the country up to speed with many of its Western peers.
German lawmaker Volker Beck, who has campaigned for LGBTQ rights in Europe, called it "an amazing victory," the Associated Press reports, as he leapt to his feet to applaud once the decision was announced.
Outside of the chancellory, the decision was met with just as much elation as LGBTQ couples celebrated, kissing and hugging, waving rainbow flags and carrying signs saying "marriage for everybody."
"We’ve been happily married for eight years, but we could never call it that," Shoshana Brandt told AP. "We are happy and proud that we are now equal and we can live our love."
On social media, supporters of LGBTQ rights were also excited to celebrate, rallying to express their joy.
The vote was made possible when German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has long been opposed to same-sex marriage, appeared to ease her stance earlier this week. Though Merkel said this week that members of her party should view the issue as a "question of conscience," she eventually voted against legalizing same-sex unions.
However, she did ask members of her party to vote individually instead of aligning to party ideals, and in the end, the bill passed with 393 votes in favor of "marriage for everybody," 226 opposing the measure, and four abstentions.
Now, the Bundesrat, Germany's upper house, will vote on the issue next week — and since they have previously voted in favor of same-sex marriage, they are expected to vote "yes" on the measure.
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