I'm surprised a thread on this hasn't already been started... a conservative government allows it's members a conscience vote despite the leader being opposed to it and parliament votes it in with a huge majority... simple as that.... done and dusted.... http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-07-01/germany-same-sex-marriage-how-did-it-just-legalise-it/8669810 How did Germany just legalise same-sex marriage? Updated about 9 hours ago PHOTO: Green Party's gay rights activist Volker Beck (R) celebrates with fellow faction members after the vote. (AP: Michael Sohn) RELATED STORY: Germany legalises same-sex marriage RELATED STORY: Same-sex marriage: A game of snakes and ladders? RELATED STORY: Pride, prejudice and punishment: Gay rights around the world MAP: Germanyswift move brings Germany into line with many other European nations. Here's how it all unfolded. What happened? The landmark vote came about almost by chance. At a discussion organised by the women's magazine, Brigitte, on Monday, Ms Merkel was challenged by a man asking, "When can I call my boyfriend my husband?" She replied that she preferred to view it as a "decision of conscience rather than me pushing something through by majority vote". She said that "the decision will have to be made some time". That signalled Ms Merkel was backing off the conservatives' long-standing refusal to budge on the issue, and meant conservative politicians could vote however they wanted, rather than following the party line. The comments angered some in her traditionally Catholic conservative bloc, but was welcomed by gay activists and the Social Democrats (SPD). Why was it so quick? It was all about the timing. Martin Schulz, who is the leader of the SPD, then seized on Ms Merkel's change of mind, pushing for a vote this week on a nearly four-year-old bill to legalise same-sex marriage. An open rift earlier might have brought down Ms Merkel's coalition government. But Friday was the outgoing parliament's last session before the September vote, leaving little room for debate. German politicians voted by 393 in favour of same-sex marriage to 226 against. There were four abstentions. What did Merkel say? PHOTO: Ms Merkel said she had voted against the bill. (Reuters: Axel Schmidt) Ms Merkel, who is the daughter of a Protestant pastor, said she had voted against the bill because she believed that marriage, as defined under German law, was between a man and a woman. But she said her decision was a personal one, stating that she had become convinced in recent years that same-sex couples should be allowed to adopt children. "I hope that the vote today not only promotes respect between the different opinions but also brings more social cohesion and peace," she said on Friday. What are the political ramifications? The former leader of the SPD described it as "a great moment for the parliament … even if it happened through an accident by Mrs Merkel". But some have seen it as a win for Ms Merkel as well, allowing her to resolve the issue ahead of the September election without having to vote against the party line, which could have annoyed her conservative base. PHOTO: Demonstrators celebrated outside the lower house of Parliament after the decision. (Reuters: Hannibal Hanschke) A survey by pollster INSA for daily Bild showed this week that three quarters of Germans favoured same-sex marriage legalisation. It also became a hot election topic after three parties — the Social Democrats (SPD), the pro-business Free Democrats and the Greens — each made it a condition for joining any future coalition with Merkel's conservatives. But the vote has offered Ms Merkel and the SPD, who is part of the current coalition, an opportunity to highlight their differences after four years of governing together. Mr Schulz joined two left-leaning opposition parties to force Friday's vote, allowing the conservatives the chance to scare voters ahead of the September vote with the notion of a left-wing government that includes the Left Party, which has communist roots. Political analysts say the issue will likely have faded from voters' minds by the time the election comes around. What does this mean for Australia? The Coalition believes a plebiscite is the best way to resolve the issue of same-sex marriage, with Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce describing it as the "greatest conscience vote that you can have". Where to from here? The same-sex marriage plebiscite was blocked in the Senate — as expected — but the debate is far from over. But Labor is pushing for a free vote in parliament, which is similar to what happened in Germany. That is unlikely to happen in the 45th Parliament, with the Coalition — which controls the numbers in the Lower House — stating that without a plebiscite, the matter will not be dealt with. So, what happens now? The same-sex bill in Germany will likely be signed into law by President Frank-Walter Steinmeier some time after July 7.