Same-sex marriage and gay adoption may finally be coming to Germany.
The country's parliament will vote on a bill to expand gay rights this Friday. Chancellor Angela Merkel and her Christian Democrats have aggressively opposed changing German marriage and adoption laws; she once argued that opening them to gay couples would risk "the well-being of children."
However, Merkel has promised to allow the upcoming vote to proceed as one of conscience, freeing politicians to vote according to their own views and not being hindered by party affiliation.
Martin Schulz, chairman of the leading opposition Social Democratic Party, promised to force just such a vote.
“We will push through marriage equality in Germany. This week," he tweeted.
Merkel's views apparently softened after she met with a lesbian couple fostering eight children. She called the experience "life-changing."
“If the youth welfare service entrusts a lesbian couple with eight foster children, then the state could no longer use child welfare as an argument against adoptions,” Merkel said.
Germany has increasingly become a major ally of the LGBT community. This month alone the country has welcomed men fleeing the gay purge in Chechnya, and announced plans to annul the convictions of 50,000 men sentenced for homosexuality under a Nazi-era law.
Danke schön, Deutschland!