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Merkel’s stance on gay marriage isn’t surprising—but it is masterful politics

Challenged by Martin Schulz, Merkel's free vote will appeal to liberal voters—while her personal discomfort will reassure her base

By Matthew Qvortrup  

Merkel is more socially conservative than many overseas pundits believe. Photo: PA

“What is she up to?” asked one of the emails I received. Another one simply stated, “How could she?” Being the biographer of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, it was as if I was personally responsible for her decision to vote against marriage equality—or Ehe für alle, as the Germans call it.

After the vote in the German parliament Friday morning, Frau Merkel, stated what she has said on numerous occasions: that she believes “marriage is between a…

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