Germany will now be able to marry and adopt children under a new law passed by parliament. Gay marriage is now a law in the Germany. The country passed a bill legalizing same-sex marriages in a snap vote that made it onto the agenda before the summer break. The bill passed by 393 to 226, with four abstentions. Volker Beck ho has long advocated legalizing same-sex marriage, called the vote “a success for democracy,” Opinion polls showing that 80 percent of Germans were in favor of allowing homosexual couples to marry and adopt children. Germany’s approval of homosexual marriages adds it to the growing list of Western countries that allow such unions. Fourteen European countries have now made gay marriage legal, with the Netherlands leading the way in 2001. This did not reflect the reality of the lives of LGBT families in Germany, who regularly have children placed with them for fostering, not just in Berlin and other big cities but also in small towns and villages. Germany was once a gay-rights pioneer. It was the eighth country to approve civil unions for same-sex partners. But Angela Merkel, its chancellor since 2005, leads the socially conservative Christian Democrats, and had opposed a vote on gay marriage because of concerns about “children’s welfare”. Only this week did she announce she had changed her mind, reportedly after having dinner with a lesbian couple who had fostered eight children. However, negative attitudes that are still quite widespread. According to the Anti-Discrimination Agency’s study almost 20 percent of Germans consider homosexuality to be “unnatural.” And almost 40 percent of those who took part in the survey said they found it unpleasant to see men or women showing affection for each other in public, for example, by kissing. Now that Germany is on board, same-sex marriage has become standard across much of the West. It has also been implemented by at least one country on every inhabited continent. Nonetheless, the vast majority of Asia and Africa are yet to approve even civil unions, a common precursor to full marriage rights.