The German Parliament's upper house is calling on the government to embrace full-fledged marriage for gay couples, an attempt to step up pressure on Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative party.

The upper house represents Germany's 16 state governments and has a left-wing majority - unlike the lower house. The resolution approved Friday doesn't force the government to take any action, as the state governments stopped short of sending a draft law to the lower house for a possible vote.

Same-sex couples in Germany have been able to enter civil unions that fall short of marriage since a center-left government introduced them in 2001.

Merkel's conservatives are refusing to go further though their coalition partners, the center-left Social Democrats, back gay marriage.