Germany has decided that it will vote on Friday as to whether to legalise same-sex marriage. The snap vote comes after Chancellor Angela Merkel said that she would like to see parliament move towards a “vote of conscience” on the issue.
The move from Merkel marks a shift for the German leader and her conservative Christian Democratic Union party, which has traditionally opposed same-sex marriage.
German politicians took to Twitter calling for an early vote. Martin Schulz, the leader of the Social Democratic Party, and the second largest party in parliament said “We will push through marriage equality in Germany,” he tweeted. “This week.”
The vote is likely to pass with strong support from other German parties.
Meanwhile in the USA, recent polls suggest that two thirds of Americans are now in favour of same-sex marriage, including the highest levels of support ever recorded for Republicans and religious people.
The Pew Research Centre poll found that while 48 per cent of Republicans and Republican leaders are opposed, 47 per cent expressed their support for same-sex marriage.
The poll comes as a Supreme Court case brings the issue of same-sex marriage back to the top of the political agenda. The court announced on Monday that it will consider the case of a Denver baker who refused to make a cake for the wedding of a gay couple in 2012 because of his religious beliefs.
Lower courts have upheld that the baker violated the state’s equalities law.
Back home, and the issue of marriage equality was again in the headlines this week. A leaked recording revealed comments by the Liberal Leader of the House, Christopher Pyne suggesting that there could be a movement in Parliament to soon allow same-sex marriage.
The recordings have been condemned by some Liberal members, including former Prime Minister Tony Abbott, for exposing disloyalty against the Party (whose support for marriage equality has stalled since their failed plebiscite on the issue).
While these political bouts play out, continuously polling of the Australian public shows an overwhelming support in favour of marriage equality, with 75 per cent of those polled by Galaxy Research believing that reform is inevitable.
(Marriage Equality has been achieved in New Zealand since 2013)