Germany to celebrate first same-sex marriages today

Germany is set to celebrate its first same-sex marriages today (October 1), three months after equal marriage was legalised in the country following a snap vote. Since 2001, same-sex couples in Germany have been able to register civil partnerships but will now be able to marry and gain the same rights as married heterosexual couples. Several civil registry offices around the country will open specifically to celebrate the new law, which reads: "Marriage is entered into for life by two people of different or the same sex." According to Reuters, around a dozen same-sex couples are expected to marry in Berlin and Hamburg today including gay couple Bobo Mende and his partner Karl Kreile, who have become the first gay couple to marry in the country. Speaking at a news conference on Friday (September 29), Mende said: "We have finally achieved legal equality. It's been 25 years' of hard struggle to secure this." The pair registered their civil partnership 15 years ago and have been at the forefront of campaigning for LGBT rights in Germany since meeting in 1979. Berlin Mayor Michael Müller congratulated couples set to marry today on Friday, describing the first same-sex weddings as a "historic event." Despite same-sex marriage being legalised, several technical problems remain as the government's registry software only recognises opposite-sex marriages and will only be updated next year. Until the system is updated, same-sex couples will be recorded as husband and wife. More stories: Police in Azerbaijan raiding homes and torturing LGBT+ people in brutal crackdown Charlie Carver gets back to nature as he strips completely naked in national park