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 by a clear majority 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 legislation, which is President François Hollande’s first major social reform and a key election pledge, was backed by 329 deputies and opposed by 229.
The bill redefines marriage as a contract between two people rather than between a man and a woman. It will now go to the left-wing-controlled Senate, or upper house, on April 2, which is expected to approve it.
Once passed, the reform will see France join 11 other gay-marriage friendly countries including Spain, Sweden, South Africa and the Netherlands. Nine US states and Washington DC have also legalised same-sex marriage and British lawmakers have recently voted for marriage equality in the UK.
The move is France’s biggest social reform since the abolition of the death penalty in 1981. Speaking after the vote, Justice Minister Christiane Taubira told journalists “We've waged a great and noble battle”.
The vote follows a lengthy and acrimonious parliamentary debate and the laborious processing of more than 5,000 amendments put forward by the conservative opposition. The amendments, filed in order to delay proceedings, saw some 100 hours of parliamentary debate, often continuing into the early hours of the morning.
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 some 51% of people support same-sex marriage, less than half agree with equal rights involving children.
Legislators were forced to postpone plans to allow lesbians access to medically assisted procreation – something which is already available to heterosexual couples unable to conceive. A separate law on the issue will be debated later in the year.
The debate sparked some of the country’s largest protests in decades, with around 340,000 turning out in Paris on January 14 to protest the reform. 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.
Tensions over same-sex marriage in France
- Italian anti-gay marriage protest draws tens of thousands
- FRANCE 24 retrospective: The top 15 stories of 2015
- Slovenians reject same-sex marriage in referendum
- Church synod approves compromise on love, sex and marriage
- Pope secretly met gay marriage row clerk Kim Davis on US trip
- Court slams French official over refusal to marry gay couple
- Guatemala: Unlikely frontrunner in presidential race
- US clerk jailed for refusing gay couples marriage licenses
- 'Greece threatens top court action to block Grexit'
- Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality makes for jubilant US pride parades
- US Supreme Court rules in favor of gay marriage nationwide
- Mairead McGuinness: 'Europe needs a better deal'
- 'French cinema triumphs'
- Ireland approves same-sex marriage in national referendum
- USA: Gay marriage debate heads to Supreme Court
- Anti-gay marriage leader sends ‘best wishes' to France’s first gay newlyweds
- France's first gay marriage takes place in Montpellier
- Passions flare ahead of France’s first gay marriage
- France’s anti-gay marriage movement eyes next battle
- François Hollande signs same-sex marriage into law
- Clashes erupt in Paris after gay marriage legalised
- French parliament legalises gay marriage, adoption
- Warning sent to politician as gay marriage vote nears
- France to hold first gay wedding amid tight security
- In French gay marriage debate, a political star is born
Date created : 2013-02-12