German party loses high court bid to force gay marriage vote

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Germany's highest court has rejected an opposition party's attempt to force a parliamentary vote on introducing gay marriage before September's national election.

Germany has allowed same-sex couples to enter civil partnerships since 2001. Other European countries have since allowed full-fledged gay marriage and most parties support it, but much of Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative bloc remains reluctant.

The opposition Greens and Left Party, as well as parliament's upper house, have proposed legislation legalizing same-sex marriage. The governing coalition is divided on the issue and the lower house's legal affairs committee has repeatedly delayed dealing with it.

The Federal Constitutional Court said Tuesday it rejected the Greens' application for an injunction ordering the committee to send the bills to lawmakers for a vote in parliament's last pre-election session June 30.