I imagine our American friends will look like this when reading that:
Obviously, conservatives aren't the same in Germany as in the US. German Family Minister Kristina Schröder (from the conservative Christian Democrats) now proposed homosexual civil unions should get the same rights as marriages, because "it is consistent with conservative values because gay couples take 'lasting responsibility' for one another."
German Family Minister in Favor of Tax Benefits for Gay Couples - SPIEGEL ONLINE
Civil unions had been legalized 12 years ago by the then center-left government under Chancellor Schröder, opposed by the Christian Democrats. But since the Christian Democrats are governing in a center-right government since 2009, they have taken no attempt to change this law again. Now they have apparently given up their opposition altogether.
Merkel's austerity stance on the euro crisis may hide this observation for the time being, but she has moved the conservative Christian Democrats far into the center -- some even say to the left of center -- in the past few years. Probably, that's a good strategy, because for the time being, there is no competition right from the Christian Dems, so they can win more votes in the center than they lose on the right.