German opposition calls on Merkel to follow Ireland on equal marriage

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The German Green Party has called on Angela Merkel to follow Ireland in introducing same-sex marriage.

The Republic of Ireland overwhelmingly voted to introduce same-sex marriage in a referendum last week, with 62.1% voting in favour and 37.9% voting against.

Following the victory, political leaders in a number of other countries – including Northern Ireland, Australia and Italy – are calling on their governments to follow suit.

In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel is facing calls for her Grand Coalition government to catch up and introduce equality.

Germany allows same-sex couples to enter into registered life partnerships that provide some of the benefits of marriage – but the Chancellor’s CDU/CSU coalition continues to oppose same-sex marriage.

Opposition Green leader Katrin Göring-Eckardt told Die Welt: “It’s time Mrs Merkel.

“The Merkel faction cannot just sit out the debate on marriage for all. I am confident that the Irish vote will accelerate equality in Germany.

“This is a great signal from Ireland. Equal love deserves equal respect.”

Jens Spahn, of Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union party, also expressed hope despite his party’s opposition.

He told the newspaper: “What the Catholic Irish can do, we can do, too … The populace is often further along in these matters than we think.”

A string of court rulings have already forced the government to take a more proactive stance on equality – calling for the recognition of same-sex parents.