Two anti-gay marriage leaders gone in a week… is Angela Merkel next?

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

Anti-gay marriage heads of government in Northern Ireland and Australia have both been toppled within a week – could Germany’s Angela Merkel be next?

Northern Ireland’s First Minister Peter Robinson, a strong opponent of same-sex marriage, resigned last Thursday amid a crisis over the IRA.

The DUP leader has blocked equal marriage bills on a number of occasions, with his party filing ‘petitions of concern’ to veto the measure and ensure Northern Ireland remains the only part of the UK without marriage equality.

Just days later, Australia’s PM Tony Abbott – who was similarly a hold-out against equal marriage – has been toppled by a challenge within his own party.

Mr Abbott had threatened to sack any ministers
who voted in favour of equal marriage, before calling for a plebiscite (public vote) on the issue to avoid a showdown in Parliament.

However, he was toppled in a leadership ballot today amid a separate power struggle – receiving 44 votes to rival Malcolm Turnbull’s 54. Mr Turnbull is viewed as more favourable to same-sex marriage.

Given the spate of anti-gay marriage leaders being toppled – could Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel be next?

Ms Merkel ruled out same-sex marriage in Germany earlier this year, despite public support from the majority of the public and supporters of her own party.

She insisted: “Marriage is a man and a woman living together. That is my concept, but I support civil partnerships… I support us not discriminating against them when it comes to taxes, and to remove any other discrimination wherever we may find it.

“For me, there is still a difference [between same-sex relationships and marriage]. It’s not the same, but they want the same.”

However, her country now too faces a political crisis, following a snap decision to close its borders with neighbouring Austria.

The country, usually seen as a focus of pro-European co-operation, has been thrown into disarray by abandoning the Schengen Area’s concept of free movement in Europe, establishing controls to attempt to limit the numbers of refugees arriving.