Published: Wed, June 28, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Merkel's strategic retreat on same-sex marriage is rival's tactical win

Merkel's strategic retreat on same-sex marriage is rival's tactical win

The Bundestag may hold a vote as early as Friday.

In Merkel's closing remarks, she reportedly "rejected [Ross's] criticism of Germany's surplus".

"We will have controversial discussions at the G-20 summit", said Merkel, who's seeking a fourth term as chancellor in Germany's election on September 24.

The basis of Merkel's previous opposition to the bill was in concern for children who may be adopted by same-sex couples.

Even though Germany was one of the first European countries to legalize same-sex partinerships in 2001, Merkel's conservative-led government has repeatedly refused to consider granting full legal rights for same-sex unions since 2005.

Last Sunday, her junior coalition partners and election rivals, the Social Democrats (SPD), upped the ante by declaring they would insist on same-sex marriage in any future alliance.

Germany's parliament is set to vote on a bill to legalise same-sex marriage Friday after the lower house legislative committee put it on the agenda, its chairwoman said.

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"If President Trump takes action on dumping it will be in the hope of provoking a collective solution by importing nations", Ross told members of Merkel's conservative Christian Democratic Union.

SPD chancellor-candidate Martin Schulz, eager to close a yawning poll gap with front-runner Merkel, said "we will take her at her word" and broke coalition ranks to call for an immediate vote, backed by the Greens and Linke parties.

She said a survey by her office had found that 83 percent of Germans favour same-sex marriage.

The CDU and CSU voted against the decision and accused the SPD of a breach of trust.

But many commentators criticised the undignified power play that paved the way for the historic vote.

Either way, it said, "marriage has been politicised".

Its co-leader Frauke Petry said the AfD stands for "traditional family values" and sarcastically thanked Merkel for abandoning another conservative position "for purely tactical considerations".

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