Angela Merkel has softened on her opposition to same-sex marriage.
Chancellor Merkel has repeatedly ruled out calls to introduce equal marriage, saying: “For me, marriage is a man and a woman living together.”
The upper house of the German Parliament has previously passed symbolic motions calling for same-sex marriage.
The German Chancellor on Monday for the first time softened her stance on the issue amid growing pressure for the country to legalise same-sex marriage.
Merkel in the past has expressed opposition to same-sex marriage, said that her party’s politicions could vote with conscience, rather than along the party line.
She said, speaking to women’s magazine Brigitte: “I would like to orient the discussion in a direction which raises the question of a decision according to conscience rather than imposing anything.”
This is a stark contrast from 2013, when Merkel said she opposed same-sex marriage “the well-being of children.”
Germany legalised civil unions for same-sex couples back in 2001.
The Christian Democratic Party has been opposed to same-sex marriage.
The policy is seen as a move to maintain conservative voters.
The Bavarian Christian Social Union, with which the CDU has formed an alliance is also staunchly opposed to same-sex marriage.
It is believed that if the CDU approves same-sex marriage, it could cause a rift in the alliance.
Germany’s centre-left SPD last week vowed to bring about equal marriage within 100 days of the country’s election.
The centre-left Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) is currently the junior partner in a grand coalition with Chancellor Merkel’s right-wing Christian Democrats.
Equal marriage has been a bone of contention between the coalition partners. The SPD strongly backs same-sex marriage, but conservative views within Merkel’s party have blocked progress.
The SPD follows in the wake of the Green Party, which has also signalled that it would make equal marriage a condition of any coalition.
The German parliament last week voted to annul the convictions of 50,000 men sentenced for homosexuality under a Nazi-era law.