German lawmakers are expected to decide Friday whether to legalize same-sex marriage, CNN is reporting.

The news comes a day after Chancellor Angela Merkel signaled a change in her stance.

Speaking at an event on Monday, Merkel was asked by a gay man when he would be allowed to refer to his registered partner as his husband.

After noting that marriage equality enjoys widespread support among Germans, Merkel said that she “hopes” that the debate will shift “into the direction of a decision of conscience,” leading many to believe that she now supports allowing MPs to vote their conscience on the issue.

Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) has previously refused members a free vote on the issue. It is widely believed that without the party's grip such a bill would clear the Bundestag.

Merkel is coming under increasing pressure to act on the issue from potential coalition partners that may emerge from September's upcoming election.

Since 2001, Germany has recognized gay and lesbian couples with civil partnerships.