The Social Democratic Party of Germany
(SPD) has endorsed gay marriage.
The SPD is Germany's oldest and second
largest political party. Prime Minister Angela Merkel's Christian
Democratic Union of Germany (CDU) is the country's dominant party.
At its recent three-day national annual
conference held in Berlin, the Social Democrats unanimously agreed to
oppose the nation's ban on gay and lesbian couples marrying.
“The SPD is committed to opening up
marriage for same-sex couples. Marriage – as a social institution
– must include heterosexual and homosexual couples,” the party's
resolution reads in part.
Party leaders also agreed to support
giving gay and lesbian couples the right to jointly adopt children.
Germany currently recognizes gay and
lesbian couples with civil partnerships, which gives couples most of
the rights and protections of marriage, except joint adoption and
full tax benefits.
“The SPD has given a clear signal for
the full equality of gays and lesbians in society,” said
Ansgar Dittmar, the national chairman of lesbians and gays in the
SPD (Schwusos). “There is today no more legitimacy for the two
parallel institutions of marriage and civil partnership. The SPD has
again proved that it is the party of progress and social
The Greens party, the nation's fourth
largest, also supports full marriage rights for gay couples.
According to a 2006 Angus-Reid Global
Monitor poll, a majority of Germans (52%) support the legalization of
Labor Party votes to back gay marriage.)