WORLD

Angela Merkel Claims A Lesbian Couple Changed Her Long-Standing Opposition To Same-Sex Marriage

German politicians are set to vote on Friday.

29/06/2017 1:44 AM AEST | Updated 29/06/2017 1:44 AM AEST

Angela Merkel has claimed that meeting a lesbian couple made her re-think her long-standing opposition to gay marriage

The German chancellor had previously argued that same-sex couples should not be allowed to marry, stating: “For me, personally, marriage is a man and a woman living together.”

In 2013, Merkel also expressed worries about gay couples being allowed to adopt, saying she was concerned about the “children’s welfare”, the BBC reported

Hannibal Hanschke / Reuters
<strong>Angela Merkel says a visit to a lesbian couple changed her stance on gay marriage&nbsp;</strong>

But in an interview on Monday with German women’s magazine Brigitte, Merkel explained that visiting a lesbian couple in her constituency who are fostering eight children made her reconsider her stance. 

She told the magazine: “If the state entrusts children to the care of such a couple, I can no longer argue so simply on the basis of children’s welfare.

“I would like to lead the discussion more into a situation where it is a question of conscience rather than something I push through with a majority vote,” Merkel added. 

The chancellor’s U-turn means that same-sex marriage could be approved in Germany as soon as this week, with a vote set to take place in parliament on Friday.

While civil partnerships have been legal since 2001, Merkel’s centre-right Christian Democratic Union party have long resisted calls to allow same-sex couples equal legal rights. 

Stefanie Loos / Reuters
<strong>German politicians are set to vote on gay marriage on Friday&nbsp;</strong>

But following Merkel’s surprise announcement - heralded as a “bombshell” in the German press - the country’s far-left Linke party, centre-left Social Democrats and Greens all quickly put the bill on the parliamentary agenda. 

With recent polls showing that the majority of Germans support gay marriage, many have predicted that the bill is likely to get “easy approval” in the lower house. 

Merkel’s change of stance comes less than three months before German voters head to the polls. 

Thomas Jaeger, a political scientist at Cologne University, told the LA Times that she had switched her position to prevent her opposition attacking her on it during the campaign. 

“About 80% of the people in Germany are in favour and she’s willing to take on a few hard-line conservatives in her own ranks,” he said. 

MORE:

Former Intelligence Chiefs Unload On President Donald Trump

The Honorable James R. Clapper, Former Director of National Intelligence of the U.S., testifies before The Senate Judiciary Committee on Russian Interference in the 2016 United States Election, in the Senate Hart building on Capitol Hill, on Monday, May 8th, 2017. (Photo by Cheriss May) (Photo by Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Read Jared Kushner's Statement On His Meetings With Russians

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 19: Senior White House adviser Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law, leads the inaugural meeting of the American Technology Council in the Indian Treaty Room at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building next door to the White House June 19, 2017 in Washington, DC. According to the White House, the council's goal is 'to explore how to transform and modernize government information technology.' (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Mike Pence Cements His Trump Bromance With Gushing Love Letter

US Vice President Mike Pence (R) speaks while standing next to US President Donald Trump during a ceremony before the signing of an Executive Order on Promoting Free Speech and Religious Liberty in the Rose Garden of the White House on May 4, 2017 in WashingtoTrump issued an executive order on Thursday making it easier for churches and religious groups to take part in politics without risk of losing their tax-exempt status, a senior White House official said. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Ivanka Trump Mocked On Twitter Over Unfortunate Misquote About Facts

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 27: Ivanka Trump delivers remarks at the U.S. State Department during the 2017 Trafficking in Persons Report ceremony June 27, 2017 in Washington, DC. The ceremony honored eight men and women from around the world whose efforts have made a lasting impact on the fight against modern slavery. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)