The German Parliament voted Friday to legally recognize same-sex marriage after Chancellor Angela Merkel cleared the way for its approval with lawmakers, allowing them to ā€œvote their conscienceā€ on the measure.

Merkel voted against the measure herself, the New York Times reports, but in the end it didnā€™t matterā€”the measure passed 393 to 226 and was one of the last items of business to attend to before Parliament breaks for summer recess. Same-sex couples in Germany have been able to live together in civil unions since 2001 and most Germans approve of same-sex marriage being legal, but the roadblock has always been conservative lawmakers who have repeatedly prevented the issue from going to a vote.

After the vote on Friday, Merkel reportedly said that while she still believes marriage is between a man and a woman, she hoped that there can be a sort of ā€œmutual respectā€ between those who fundamentally oppose gay marriage and those who donā€™t and ā€œthat a piece of social peace and togetherness could be created.ā€

The bill will make its way to the upper Parliament and will eventually head to the desk of German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier. If all goes according to plan, those who wish to enter a same-sex marriage in Germany should be able to do so in the fall.