French Lawmakers Approve Homosexual Marriage Bill

4798Same-sex marriage in France came one step closer to legality Tuesday, as lawmakers in the lower house of parliament approved a controversial bill that would extend the right to marry and adopt to same-sex couples.
The measure was voted through in the National Assembly by 329 in favor to 229 against, with 10 deputies abstaining.

The bill must still go before the senate before it becomes law. If passed, it would mark the biggest step forward for French gay rights advocates in more than a decade.

France is not the only nation currently wrestling with the polarizing issue of same-sex marriage.

UK lawmakers took a big step last week toward legalizing same-sex marriage when they approved the second reading of a bill in the House of Commons.

But while a significant number of MPs back the legislation, which is supported by Prime Minister David Cameron, the move has prompted widespread rebellion within Cameron's Conservative Party. The bill must go through several more stages before it can become law.

The Church of England is among the religious bodies opposed to the UK legislation.

In the United States, where President Barack Obama has voiced his personal support for same-sex marriage, it has been legalized in nine states and the District of Columbia -- but many people remain vehemently opposed.

Extending the right to marry and adopt to same-sex couples in France was one of President Francois Hollande's electoral pledges in campaigning last year.

The National Assembly, which is dominated by Hollande's Socialist Party, was expected to pass the bill Tuesday, having approved the most important article of the law with a wide majority earlier this month. The left also controls the Senate.

But the plan faces stiff opposition from the Roman Catholic Church and social conservatives, with huge numbers turning out for protest marches in Paris in recent weeks.

Another big rally against the law is planned for next month.

Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois, the archbishop of Paris, voiced his opposition at a meeting of French bishops in Lourdes last year.

Source: CNN | Laura Smith-Spark
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