Egalite: French Lawmakers Back Gay Marriage Bill

Marriage equality march in Paris, Jan. 27, 2013. Flag reads: Equality. ( Olivier Ortelpa)

Egalite: French Lawmakers Back Gay Marriage Bill

'It really is a great day for equal rights'

France is one step closer to legalizing gay marriage after the lower house of parliament voted on Tuesday to support a marriage-for-all law.

The National Assembly passed the law, which affords equal marriage and adoption rights to same-sex couples, by a 329 to 229 vote.

It now heads to the upper house, the left-wing-controlled Senate, in April, where it is expected to pass.

Bruno Le Roux, leader of the Socialist MPs in the Assembly, welcomed the decision, saying, "We won't judge people in terms of their sexual orientation by differentiating any more. It's one fewer difference to be made, so it really is a great day for equal rights," euronews reports.

The Irish Times reports that

President Francois Hollande's government billed gay marriage as the most important social reform since the abolition of the death penalty in 1981, but the issue has proven the most divisive of Mr Hollande's term so far.

On the bitter opposition that preceded the vote, FRANCE 24 reports:

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.

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