Politicians in Germany have overwhelmingly voted in favour of allowing same-sex marriage on 30 June. The move comes just days after the surprise shift in stance from Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Germany has had civil unions in place since 2001, but Merkel, who has been chancellor since 2005, has shown reluctance to allow full marriage rights to gay and lesbian couples.
Merkel voted against the bill, but the free vote in the Bundestag passed by 393 to 226.
The vote came at the last minute when on Monday 26 June, Merkel appeared on the woman's magazine TV show 'Brigitte' saying she would allow a free vote.
The vote means that homosexual couples will also be able to adopt rather than just foster a child.
Speaking after the vote, Merkel reiterated that she felt marriage was "between a man and a woman."
Her main rival for the 2017 election, Martin Schulz, welcomed the move, saying: "Progress is possible. I'm happy for all the married couples to-be."
Cheers and applause erupted from the Reichstag once the vote tally was announced.
Merkel said she had a "life-changing experience" when she had met a lesbian couple who had fostered eight children in her Baltic sea constituency.
She had further concerns that the matter was dividing her Christian Democratic party.
By voting against the bill, but allowing a free vote, the move is also expected to draw in more liberally minded voters ahead of federal elections in September when Merkel is hoping to win the chancellery for a fourth time.
Fourteen European nations now allow same-sex marriage, the first being the Netherlands back in 2001.