GERMANY: Chancellor Angela Merkel Spokesman Says Same-Sex Marriage Is "Not A Goal Of This Government"
Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition agreed on Wednesday to make small changes to same-sex civil partnership rules but staunch opposition from conservatives in her party means Germany will not follow Ireland in allowing gay marriages any time soon. Although there are growing divisions within the party, Merkel's Christian Democrats are still overwhelmingly opposed to same-sex marriages partly due to fears it could upset voters on the right. However, polls show 75 percent of Germans are in favour of legalising gay marriages, as are the Social Democrats (SPD) and all opposition parties. The overwhelming "yes" vote in Ireland for same-sex marriage had triggered a discussion in Germany about the lingering gap in rights between registered partnerships and marriages. "Today was an important milestone in dismantling discrimination and the chancellor is pleased about that," her spokesman Steffen Seibert said. "But 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," said Seibert, when asked about Ireland. "In Germany we'll take a path that suits Germany."Merkel was elected to a third term in 2013.