The German Parliament on Friday passed a bill legalizing same-sex marriages in a snap vote despite Chancellor Angela Merkel voting against it.
"For me, marriage in German law is marriage between a man and a woman and that is why I did not vote in favour of this bill today," she told reporters after the vote.
She, however, that she hoped the vote to approve gay marriage would lead to "more social peace."
The bill was passed by 393 to 226, with four abstentions.
Although she voted against homosexual marriage, she said that after long reflection, she had come to the conclusion that same-sex couples should be able to adopt children, which is something the new bill will legalize, reports the DW.
After Germany's approval fourteen European countries have now made gay marriage legal, with the Netherlands leading the way in 2001.