Germany's parliament has voted to legalise same-sex marriage.
It comes after the measure was brought to a vote in today's session of the Bundestag, the last before September elections,
Members of the Bundestag in Berlin voted 393 for legalising "marriage for everybody" and 226 against, with four abstentions.
Mrs Merkel herself voted against the measure, but paved the way for Friday's vote after saying on Monday that politicians could take up the issue as a "question of conscience" - freeing members of her conservative coalition, which has been against same-sex marriage, to individually vote for it.
Germany has allowed same-sex couples to enter civil partnerships since 2001, but same-sex marriages remained illegal.
All of Mrs Merkel's potential coalition partners after the September 4 election, including the centre-left Social Democrats of her challenger, Martin Schulz, have been calling for same-sex marriage to be legalised.