France adopts gay marriage law after strong debate
France’s lower house National Assembly on Tuesday adopted a bill legalising same-sex marriages and adoptions for gay couples, defying months of opposition protests.
In its second and final reading, a majority of lawmakers approved the bill by a vote of 331 to 225.
“After 136 hours and 46 minutes of debate, Parliament has adopted the law opening marriage to same-sex couples,” the Socialist speaker of the Assembly, Claude Bartolone, said after the vote.
Justice Minister Christiane Taubira hailed the adoption of the bill as a “historic” moment in French history.
“It grants new rights, stands firmly against discrimination (and) testifies to our country’s respect for the institution of marriage,” she said in a statement shortly after the vote.
“This law ... brightens the horizons of many of our citizens who were deprived of these rights,” she said.
The bill must still be signed by President Francois Hollande and is to face a challenge in France’s constitutional council.
Shortly after the vote, lawmakers from right-wing parties said they had already filed a legal challenge with the council.
It will have a month to make a ruling and opponents are hoping that in the meantime they can build up enough pressure to force Hollande, who has been steadfast in supporting the bill, to back down from signing it.
Tens of thousands have taken to the streets in recent months to oppose the bill, in demonstrations that have occasionally spilled over into violence.