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Merkel raises prospect of gay marriage in Germany

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives widened their lead over the Social Democrats (SPD) to 15 points in a weekly opinion poll by the Emnid institute published on Sunday, three months before the September 24 election.The German chancellor and her Christian Democratic Union party have previously expressed opposition to same-sex marriage on several occasions, largely to avoid confrontation with more conservative members.”Angela Merkel is trying to lull the voters to sleep and keep them away from the election. but she won’t succeed this time”, said Leon Hahn, who heads the party’s youth wing in the southwestern state of Baden-Wuerttemberg. A YouGov poll conducted in May found 66 percent of almost 1,110 respondents were in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage, with 57 percent saying that adoption by gay couples should be allowed.The Social Democrats leapt on Merkel’s comments, which came as the outgoing parliament – in which there’s likely a majority for gay marriage – prepares for its last session this week. If the state entrusts children to the care of such a couple, she said, “I can no longer argue so simply on the basis of children’s welfare”.German Chancellor Angela Merkel attends the weekly cabinet meeting at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany June 21, 2017.With September’s election on the horizon, Merkel faces increasing pressure to take action on gay marriage, and her two main rivals both recently adopted “marriage for all” campaigns.Mrs Merkel also suggested she had changed her mind about the right of same-sex couples to adopt children, an issue with which she once said she had “difficulties”. Her position seems to have changed.At a party conference on Sunday in Dortmund, Martin Schulz, the Social Democrats (SPD) leader, accused Merkel of silencing debate on issues like pensions and failing to stand up to the US.”We say Yes to marriage for all”.All other political parties hold the same view, leaving Merkel’s party opposed along with the hard-right Alternative for Germany (AfD). “I will sign no coalition deal in which marriage for all is not inscribed”, said the 61-year-old former European Parliament chief, who was rewarded with 10 minutes of applause for his 90-minute speech.”Even if Mr Schulz is frustrated by the polls, he should remain measured”, tweeted Peter Tauber, the general secretary of Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU).