French parliament approves landmark gay marriage bill
Reposted from France 24: http://www.france24.com/en/20130212-france-parliament-approves-landmark-gay-marriage-bill
France's National Assembly approved the government’s controversial ‘marriage for all’ bill in a final vote on Tuesday after months of fierce debate. The law is President François Hollande’s first major social reform.
France’s lower house voted on Tuesday to approve the government’s marriage reform, which will allow same-sex couples the same spousal and adoption rights as their heterosexual counterparts.
The law, which is President François Hollande’s first major social reform and a key election pledge, will now go to the Senate, where it is expected to pass easily.
The formal vote came 10 days after passing its first and major hurdle, when lawmakers voted 249-97 in favour of redefining marriage as a contract between two people rather than between a man and a woman.
A separate law on providing medically assisted procreation to lesbian couples – something which is already available to heterosexual couples unable to conceive – will be debated later in the year.
The issue has proved to be hugely divisive in a country steeped in conservative Catholic values, despite its global reputation as a progressive nation.
While a majority of French voters support marriage equality, the debate sparked some of the country’s largest protests in decades. The anti-gay marriage camp, largely driven by the Catholic Church, has accused President Hollande of pushing through legislation without proper consultation. It has promised to stage a new rally on March 24.