French lawmakers in the National
Assembly are expected on Tuesday to vote on a gay marriage bill.
The vote comes 10 days after the
chamber approved the bill's most critical article. Deputies voted
249-97 in favor of expanding marriage to include gay and lesbian
couples. They have since considered thousands of amendments to the
bill's text, most of them filed by opponents in the conservative UMP
President Francois Hollande campaigned
on the marriage reform and his coalition appears prepared to back
Religious groups, most notably the
Roman Catholic Church, have organized against passage of the bill,
sending hundreds of thousands of people into the streets to protest.
France currently recognizes gay couples
with PACS (pacte civil de solidarite), a form of civil union which
offers many but not all of the rights of marriage.
Gay rights activists have also lined
the streets of Paris to call on lawmakers to approve the reform.
The French gay rights group Inter-LGBT
said the proposed law “would be a major advance for our country in
terms of equality of rights.”
Britain is also debating whether to
legalize marriage equality.