Germany’s Social Democrat opposition (Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands, SPD) backed marriage equality at its national convention in early December.
The vote from delegates was unanimous that the party should seek to change German law should the party form the next government, almost certainly in alliance with smaller parties which already back gay marriage such as the Greens.
They also voted unanimously to end discrimination in adoption law.
Ansgar Dittmar, National Chairman of lesbians and gays in the SPD (Schwusos), said that the party had decided that there was now no more legitimacy in maintaining two parallel institutions of marriage and life partnership.
Marriage equality could come sooner as the city state of Hamburg has introduced it into the German Senate and the SPD has introduced a bill into the Bundestag.
Registered life partnerships (effectively, a form of civil union) have been instituted since 2001, giving same-sex couples rights and obligations in areas such as inheritance, alimony, health insurance, immigration and name change but no tax benefits.
Polls show a healthy majority of Germans favor marriage equality.
Despite marriage equality losing heavily in the French parliament in July, rumors are swirling in France that President Nicholas Sarkozy will support marriage equality and gay families in next year’s election.
He is reported to have been inspired by the leadership of fellow conservative David Cameron, who told his party’s congress earlier this year:
I donít support gay marriage despite being a Conservative. I support gay marriage because Iím a Conservative.
Picture credit darcyandkat