German Chancellor Angela Merkel cast her vote after a debate on same-sex marriage in Bundestag, Germany´s lower house of Parliament in Berlin on June 30, 2017.
The vote is likely to pass with strong support from other German parties and from some MP´s within Merkel's Christian Democratic Union after Merkel said Monday that she would like to see parliament move towards a "vote of conscience" on the issue. / AFP PHOTO / Tobias SCHWARZ        (Photo credit should read TOBIAS SCHWARZ/AFP/Getty Images)
German lawmakers vote to legalize gay marriage
01:27 - Source: CNN

Story highlights

Chancellor Angela Merkel says she voted against the bill

Bill passes by 393 votes to 226, with four abstentions

CNN  — 

German lawmakers voted by a wide margin to legalize same-sex marriage Friday, a landmark decision which came just days after Chancellor Angela Merkel dropped her longstanding opposition to a free vote on the issue.

The bill gives homosexual couples in Germany the same rights as heterosexual couples, and will allow same-sex couples to marry and jointly adopt children. It passed by 393 votes to 226, with four abstentions.

The bill is likely to pass through the Bundesrat – Germany’s upper house – next week. The Bundesrat has previously approved legalizing same-sex marriage.

PHOTOS: Champagne corks pop in Berlin after vote

Supporters of gay rights celebrate following the vote Friday at the nearby Bundestag.

Once it has been officially signed into law, Germany will enter the club of more than 20 countries where same-sex marriage is legal.

Two-thirds of Germans said they were in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage in a recent YouGov poll.

A crowd of same-sex marriage supporters who waited outside the parliament building as the vote was held cheered in celebration as the bill was passed, hailing a historic day for equal rights.

Merkel votes no

Speaking after the vote, Merkel said she had voted no on the issue, but that it had been important to put it to a vote of conscience.