The highest court in Germany has rejected a bid to force the country’s parliament to vote on the legalisation of gay marriage.
Citing the overwhelming popularity of same sex marriage, the Green Party applied for an injunction which would compel lawmakers to finally have a vote on the issue. More than three quarters of Germans say they would welcome the introduction of marriage equality. This is a higher level of support than the idea had in England and Wales prior to the approval of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act by Parliament.
The Greens took their case to the Federal Constitutional Court, the Bundesverfassungsgericht, which rules on matters relating to the constitution. Had the bid been successful, the German parliament would have voted on 30 June. This is the last session before federal elections in September.
Germany is currently governed by a coalition of the right-wing Christian Democratic Union (Christlich Demokratische Union Deutschlands or CDU), the centre-left Social Democratic Party of Germany (Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands) and the Christian Social Union in Bavaria (Christlich-Soziale Union in Bayern). The Chancellor is CDU leader Angela Merkel, who has stated her belief that “marriage is a man and a woman living together”.
With a national election on the horizon, the Greens have made the legalisation of gay marriage in the country a condition of entering a coalition.
Photo of the Bundesverfassungsgericht building by Mehr Demokratie via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence.