German Bishops ‘deeply saddened’ by vote to legalise same-sex marriage

Bishops in Germany have said they are “deeply saddened” by a vote to legalise same-sex marriage.

German MPs this morning voted by a clear majority to legalise same-sex marriage.

The vote happened quickly this week with a measure being announced, carried out and successfully passed in a matter of days.


Chancellor Angela Merkel gave her Christian Democratic Union party a free vote in the proposal put forward by the Social Democrats – though Mrs Merkel herself voted against the legislation.

But before the vote went ahead, the president of the German bishops’ conference Cardinal Reinhard Marx said Germany needed to protect the definition of marriage as between one man and one woman, set out in the German constitution.

He said it was “absolutely inappropriate” to rush through a measure to legalise same-sex marriage.

After the vote went ahead this morning, Archbishop Heiner Koch, responsible for family affairs in the bishops conference, said he was “deeply saddened” by the vote.

He said marriage had been “caught up in the cogwheels of political point-scoring”.

Going on, Koch said the Church would continue campaigning for marriage to remain as one man and one woman.

“I regret that our understanding of marriage and the state’s understanding are moving yet further apart”, added Archbishop Stefan Heße of Hamburg.

The Protestant Church in Germany has welcomed the vote.

Same-sex couples may be able to get married in Germany before the end of 2017, after the law is formally amended to reflect the result of today’s historic vote.

The German legal code will now read: “Marriage is entered into for life by two people of different or the same sex.”

While she permitted the vote on Monday, Mrs Merkel was one of those who voted against the motion, having in the past admitted to having a “hard time” with the issue.

She recently revealed that meeting a lesbian couple who had eight foster children together changed her mind on whether or not a free vote should be allowed on the matter.

The quick movement towards the snap vote comes ahead of a general election in Germany on September 24.

Significant parties the Greens, Linke, and Free Democrats all vocally backed same-sex marriage and said they would not enter into a coalition government unless the law was changed.