Three kilometres south on Nollendorfplatz, the capital's traditional gay neighbourhood, crowds cheered the vote putting Germany on course to become the 14th European Union country where same sex couples can Wednesday.
The bill was backed by a total of 393 lawmakers, 226 voted against and four indifferent.
As recently as last week, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) were opposed to same-sex marriage.
She said she favoured an eventual vote when all lawmakers could follow their conscience rather than a party line. Except that the vote was nowhere near unanimous-the Bundestag's deciding vote was 393 to 226-with one major worldwide player voicing her opposition: Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Civil marriages are legally recognised in Norway, Sweden, Denmark (excluding the Faroe Islands), Finland, Iceland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, Luxembourg, France, the United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland and Jersey), and the Republic of Ireland.
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Despite allowing a free vote, however, Merkel herself voted against the bill.
But Merkel is more than anything a savvy politician who knows which way the wind is blowing, and European conservatives are often of a wildly different cut than their American counterparts.
"After years of waiting and hoping, rainbow families in Germany will now receive equal recognition under the law", said ILGA-Europe Executive Director Evelyne Paradis in a statement. This means that later this year, the rainbow curtain of marriage equality, which now sits along the western borders of Germany, Switzerland and Italy (ignoring Northern Ireland) will shift eastwards. Her main rival, Social Democrat Martin Schulz, has championed gay marriage as a central campaign issue (paywall) and used it to block her chances of forming a coalition as chancellor if she wins, by refusing to enter any government that does not introduce gay marriage.
"I regret that our understanding of marriage and the state's understanding are moving yet further apart", Archbishop Stefan Heße of Hamburg said.
Merkel explained her decision to allow the vote at an event hosted by the women's magazine, Brigitte.