The French National Assembly has easily
approved the most critical article of a proposed gay marriage bill.
According to the BBC, deputies voted
249-97 in favor of expanding marriage to include gay and lesbian
The Socialist government of Francois
Hollande and its coalition supporters backed the proposal.
Opposition came mainly from the conservative UMP Party.
Hollande campaigned on the pledge to
The debate on whether France should
join the 11 nations which have legalized gay nuptials has largely
taken place on the streets of Paris, where hundreds of thousands of
people have marched in protests and counter-protests.
Hundreds of other amendments to the
bill, most of them filed by opponents, will be debated in the coming
The ease with which the main article
cleared the chamber suggests that the bill as a whole will emerge intact. However, its most controversial proposal, allowing gay couples
to adopt children, is expected to generate much debate.
“We are happy and proud to have taken
this first step,” Justice
Minister Christiane Taubira said. “We are going to establish
the freedom for everyone to choose his or her partner for a future