This means there is no barrier for parliamentary approval in April and the law going into effect on May 1st.
The compromise agreement means that the present partnership for lesbian and gay couples providing marriage-like rights will not automatically be changed into ”marriage” – and will continue to exist although no new partnership ceremonies will take place.
The ruling coalition partners - the moderate conservatives, the liberals and the Center Party – agreed to go ahead with gender-neutral marriages - despite the strong opposition of the 4th coalition partner - the Christian Democrats and resistance from some of the clergy wanting to save the word ”marriage” only for heterosexual couples. Some churchmen say they will refuse to carry out gay marriage ceremonies.
But the other government parties knew they would loose much good will if they ignore the question – since the great majority of the parliament favors such a law. Some members of the opposition Social Democrats, Greens and Left Party have wanted to go even further - and take away marriage rights from the Church altogether if it did not stop discriminating against same-sex couples.