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Germany's parliament approved marriage equality in June after Chancellor Angela Merkel chose to make the vote a matter of conscience, freeing her Social Democrat coalition partners and many of her conservative politicians to vote for it.The bill, which enjoyed strong public support, passed by a wide margin, with 393 MPs voting in favour of marriage equality and 226, including Ms Merkel, voting against."This day sends a significant signal, which is that the state's discrimination of lesbians and gays is finished," said Joerg Steinert, who heads the Berlin branch of Germany's lesbian and gay association.I felt discriminated against, being sent out again."Mr Kreile, 59, said it was an "incredible honour" to be the first same-sex couple to marry in Germany, noting that he and Mr Mende, 60, had been campaigning for gay rights for decades.
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.
The grooms entered the room to the popular Wedding March by 19th-century German composer Felix Mendelssohn, before saying their vows and signing the marriage documents to applause and cheers from the assembled guests.
The newlyweds, who registered their civil partnership 15 years ago, first tried to marry a quarter of a century ago.
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. 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.