As it stands now in Germany, same-sex couples cannot marry—in large part because of German chancellor Angela Merkel and the conservative party she heads, the Christian Democratic Union. However, in comments Monday that quickly took center-stage in the current national election campaign, Merkel suggested that this may change.
In an audience-attended interview, an audience member asked the Chancellor about the growing support behind the issue of same-sex marriage. The characteristically tactful politician reiterated many familiar talking points—her Christian belief, the sensitivity of the issue—before expressing a new openness to considering the question.
“I would like to lead the discussion more into a situation where it is a question of conscience rather than something I push through with a majority vote,” she said.
Germany’s government is currently controlled by two parties presided over by Merkel, her own Christian Democratic Union and the Social Democrats. The chancellor’s comments come after the Social Democrats qualified their political support in the election on whether she backs gay marriage.
Members within Merkel’s own party, though, have not responded well to the idea. Michael Grosse-Brömer, the party’s chief whip—the party figure charged with coordinating and collecting votes from other party members—voiced muted reluctance on the matter, saying, “There is no need for an overly hasty decision.”
Support for same-sex marriage among Germans is at an all-time high and shows no signs of diminishing. In a YouGov poll conducted in May, 66 percent of participants favored legalization of same-sex marriage.
The vote will likely come this week, and if it does, it is very likely to pass.