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French lawmakers approve gay marriage bill

France’s lower house of parliament today voted 329 to 229 to approve a controversial bill that would allow same-sex couples to marry and adopt children.

AFP reports:

France on Tuesday came a step closer to legalising gay marriage when the lower house of parliament approved a highly controversial bill allowing same-sex couples to wed and adopt children.

The legislation, a key election pledge of Socialist President Francois Hollande, was passed by 329 votes to 229 in the National Assembly and must now win final approval in the Senate, or upper house of parliament.

The vote came 10 days after lawmakers overwhelmingly voted to adopt its key article which redefines marriage as a contract between two people rather than between a man and a woman.

With opinion polls having consistently shown that a comfortable majority of the French support gay marriage, Hollande could never have anticipated that a promise he made in his election manifesto last year would generate so much controversy.

A campaign orchestrated by the Catholic church and belatedly backed by the mainstream centre-right opposition steadily gathered momentum throughout the autumn and culminated in a giant protest in Paris last month.

Read the full article via AFP