In February 2013, the Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe criticized the so-called “successive adoption rights” for being reserved exclusively for heterosexual married couples. The court ruled it was illegal to ban successive adoption based on sexual orientation.
Effective immediately, Thursday's vote by the Bundestag gives same-sex pairs the right to adopt their partner's child.
Justice Secretary, Christian Lange (SPD), called it a "direct implementation" of the constitutional court law ruling.
But opposition parties voted against the law, arguing it was insufficient.
Both the Green Party and the far-left party, Die Linke, criticized the bill and called for full adoption rights for homosexual couples.
As of January 2005 a person can adopt the biological child of their partner, but even after the latest reform, homosexual partners do not have the legal right to jointly adopt a child.
"We want full equal rights instead of fictitious equality," stated Green Party domestic affairs speaker Volker Beck. "The Federal Court must stop discriminating against partners regarding adoption law."
Beck and his party urged the government to stop passing bills which were just "window dressing".
But Sabine Sütterlin-Waack, from the centre-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU), rejected the demand for full equality, stating that the effects of same-sex parenthood on a child's well-being had not yet been determined.