France approves gay marriage bill

  • France became the 14th country on Tuesday to legalize gay marriage. The bill, which also allows same-sex couples to adopt, was passed by 321 votes to 225 in the French parliament.

    The issue has divided the public resulting in some of the biggest protests seen in France in recent years. Hundreds of opponents of the measure gathered outside the National Assembly building in the city center as the decision was announced.

    Thousands of police armed with water cannons were on duty to deal with violence seen at previous demonstrations.

    According to opinion polls, a small majority of French people support gay marriage. Surveys suggest fewer are in favor of adoption by same-sex couples.

    Socialist President Francois Hollande is expected to sign the bill once it has cleared any challenge in the constitutional council.

    Opponents of the bill include the opposition UMP party, and are likely try to argue to the council that marriage is a constitutional issue.

    France is the ninth country in Europe to allow same-sex marriage after the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain and the Scandinavian bloc of nations.

    Explore an interesting infographic on LGBT Rights

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