• Karl Kreile and Bodo Mende kiss each other during their wedding at Schoeneberg district townhall. (Getty Images Europe (Photo by Steffi Loos/Getty Images))
The couple has finally been able to marry after Germany's marriage law was changed in June.
By
Michaela Morgan

2 Oct 2017 - 10:33 AM  UPDATED 2 Oct 2017 - 10:33 AM

The first same-sex marriages have begun taking place in Germany, after the country’s parliament voted for marriage equality at the end of June this year. 

Long-term partners Karl Kreile and Bodo Mende have become the first couple to wed under the new law, which came into effect on October 1st. 

Kreile and Mende first met in 1979 and have been in a civil partnership since 2002. Kreile told the Guardian that they have “waited a long time” for this day.

“We’ve actively campaigned for decades for the state to recognise us as equals, and finally we are able to celebrate a day we once thought may never come in our lifetimes.”

“I remember the shame we felt when we were turned away from a registry office 25 years ago when we confronted the registrar as part of an organised protest,” Mende added. “They made us feel like second-class citizens.”

After nearly 40 years together, Kreile and Mende wed at Berlin’s Schoeneberg district town hall. The couple were surrounded by rainbow flags and a cake iced with the words ‘Ehe für alle’ (Marriage for all). 

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The newlyweds said that they would be holding a low-key reception, having “partied big” when they first entered into a civil partnership more than 15 years ago but that the ceremony was deeply significant. 

"This is an emotional moment with great symbolism," Kriele told DW. "The transition to the term 'marriage' shows that the German state recognises us as real equals."

The new law means that same-sex couples can now be afforded the same rights as their heterosexual peers—however a glitch in the marriage registry software means all couples are currently being registered as ‘man’ and ‘woman’. 

Same-sex couples can still get married, but marriage licences that correctly reflect the couple’s genders might not be available until November 2018. 

"It is embarrassing that in the 21st century, a small adjustment would create such problems," Gay and Lesbian Federation (LSVD) spokesman Jörg Steinert told Deutsche Welle