German Chancellor Angela Merkel has ruled out marriage equality in Germany for the short term.

Merkel's ruling coalition last week agreed to small changes to civil partnerships for gay couples, first introduced in 2001.

The announcement came after Ireland became the first nation to approve marriage equality through a popular referendum.

The Irish vote has put pressure on other governments to follow suit.

Speaking through a spokesman, Merkel praised the Irish vote as an “important milestone in dismantling discrimination” but added that “same-sex marriages are not a goal of this government.”

“Every country makes its own laws – some countries go one route while others go another,” Steffen Seibert said. “In Germany, we'll take a path that suits Germany.”

Polls show Germans overwhelmingly (75%) support marriage equality.

Thomas Jaeger, a political scientist at Cologne University, told Reuters that the government lacks the political “courage” to take on issues not agreed to in forming Merkel's grand coalition in 2013.

“This government isn't capable of spontaneous reforms and is unable to move with the times,” he said. “These are two big parties in the way of each other that don't have the courage to tackle anything not agreed on in advance of their coalition agreement.”