Germany’s LGBTQ community and its allies celebrated on Friday after the German Parliament officially voted to legalize same-sex marriage.
The measure passed Parliament by a wide margin of 393-226, with Chancellor Angela Merkel choosing to break with her party, the Christian Democrats, and vote against legalization.
“I am certain that just a few years from now, as a society, we will look back on this decision on marriage equality and ask ourselves, ‘Why on earth did it take us so long?’” Christine Lüders, director of the German government’s anti-discrimination agency, told the New York Times.
The vote makes Germany the 23rd country to legalize same-sex marriage, according to GLAAD, with over 83% of Germans supporting marriage equality prior to Friday’s vote.
“Love prevails once again as LGBTQ couples in Germany obtain the right to marry the person they love and build lasting, loving families in their communities,” GLAAD president Sarah Kate Ellis said in a statement. “As the world faces a resurgence of anti-LGBTQ activism, victories like we see in Germany highlight the importance of LGBTQ people staying visible.”
In response to the government’s momentous decision, hundreds of marriage equality supporters celebrated the news in front of the Bundestag lower house of parliament and the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, according to Reuters.
“This is simply a historic day for Germany,” marriage equality activist Soeren Landmann told Reuters. “Today, thousands of same-sex couples were given equality, and the two-class society in matters of love was abolished. Germany can really rejoice today.”