Skip to main content

French lawmakers approve same-sex marriage bill

By Laura Smith-Spark, CNN
updated 7:21 AM EDT, Wed April 24, 2013
Protesters stand in the street as they face riot police on Sunday, May 26, in Paris on the sidelines of demonstrations against a gay marriage law legalizing same-sex marriage and adoptions for gay couples. President Francois Hollande s<a href='http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/18/world/europe/france-same-sex-marriage/index.html'>igned the measure into law</a> on May 18 following months of bitter debate and demonstrations, including <a href='http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/21/world/europe/france-cathedral-death/index.html'>a suicide </a>at Notre Dame Cathedral in the name of protesting same-sex marriage. Protesters stand in the street as they face riot police on Sunday, May 26, in Paris on the sidelines of demonstrations against a gay marriage law legalizing same-sex marriage and adoptions for gay couples. President Francois Hollande signed the measure into law on May 18 following months of bitter debate and demonstrations, including a suicide at Notre Dame Cathedral in the name of protesting same-sex marriage.
HIDE CAPTION
Protests over France's same-sex marriage bill
Protests over France's same-sex marriage bill
Protests over France's same-sex marriage bill
Protests over France's same-sex marriage bill
Protests over France's same-sex marriage bill
Protests over France's same-sex marriage bill
Protests over France's same-sex marriage bill
Protests over France's same-sex marriage bill
Protests over France's same-sex marriage bill
Photos: Protests over France's same-sex marriage bill
Protests over France's same-sex marriage bill
Protests over France's same-sex marriage bill
Protests over France's same-sex marriage bill
Protests over France's same-sex marriage bill
Protests over France's same-sex marriage bill
Protests over France's same-sex marriage bill
Protests over France's same-sex marriage bill
Protests over France's same-sex marriage bill
Protests over France's same-sex marriage bill
Protests over France's same-sex marriage bill
Protests over France's same-sex marriage bill
Protests over France's same-sex marriage bill
Protests over France's same-sex marriage bill
Protests over France's same-sex marriage bill
Protests over France's same-sex marriage bill
Protests over France's same-sex marriage bill
Protests over France's same-sex marriage bill
Protests over France's same-sex marriage bill
Protests over France's same-sex marriage bill
Protests over France's same-sex marriage bill
Protests over France's same-sex marriage bill
Protests over France's same-sex marriage bill
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Opponents of the measure file a challenge with France's Constitutional Council
  • National Assembly approves a same-sex marriage bill by a 331-to-225 vote
  • The issue of same-sex marriage also polarizes the United States and other nations
  • Lawmakers in New Zealand and Uruguay are the latest to back same-sex marriage

Do you agree with France's move? Send us your thoughts and experiences.

(CNN) -- French lawmakers voted to legalize same-sex marriage Tuesday, despite vocal protests from some conservatives opposed to the step.

The nation's lower house approved a marriage bill, which would also give same-sex couples the right to adopt, in a 331-to-225 final vote.

They cast their votes after impassioned speeches by lawmakers for and against the legislation.

President Francois Hollande, who pledged his support for same-sex marriage on the campaign trail last year, will have to sign the bill before it becomes law.

Issues beyond same-sex rights for French
Same-sex marriage battle in France
Open Mic: French on same-sex marriage

After Tuesday's lower house vote, a group of senators filed a legal challenge with the country's Constitutional Council, according to a statement published on the UMP conservative opposition party's senate website.

The court has a month to rule on the challenge filed by conservative and centrist senators.

iReport: Pro-gay marriage demonstrators hail lawmakers' move

The measure had been expected to pass Tuesday since the left, which includes Hollande's governing Socialist Party, dominates the National Assembly, or lower house. The legislation was approved in the Senate earlier this month.

If the measure is enacted, France would be the ninth country in Europe to allow same-sex marriage.

Protesters on Sunday joined the latest in a series of marches through Paris against the measure, and they have vowed to carry on the fight.

One of the groups behind the marchers urged protesters to rally again Tuesday evening and is planning more demonstrations around the country next month.

Policing has been stepped up in the streets around the lower house in case demonstrations by those for and against the bill become heated, CNN affiliate BFM-TV reported.

In France, the contentious debate over the same-sex marriage bill has coincided with a spike in reported incidents of homophobic abuse, the gay rights group SOS Homophobie told BFM-TV last week.

A gay bar in Lille was targeted Wednesday night by four men who appeared to belong to a far-right group, Interior Minister Manuel Valls said Thursday, in a statement condemning the attack.

Valls also condemned violence that broke out Thursday evening at a march against same-sex marriage, when "organized groups" refused to disperse and clashed with police.

France is committed to upholding the right of all people to demonstrate peacefully, he said.

International debate

Passage of the divisive bill will admit France to a small but growing club.

Lawmakers in New Zealand last week made it the first country in the Asia Pacific region to legalize same-sex marriage. The law is set to be enacted later this year.

Its move came a week after Uruguayan lawmakers approved a measure allowing same-sex marriage. The measure awaits the signature of Uruguay's president, who has indicated he supports it.

If the laws in New Zealand, Uruguay and France are enacted as expected, the count of nations allowing same-sex marriage will rise to 14.

The first same-sex couples walked down the aisle in the Netherlands in 2001, with others following suit in Canada, South Africa, Belgium and Spain. Argentina was the first Latin American nation to legalize such marriages, in 2010.

Legislators in the United Kingdom are also weighing proposals to legalize same-sex marriage.

However, many countries remain split over the issue.

In the United States, the question went before the Supreme Court last month, and justices are now deliberating over the matter.

Nine states and the District of Columbia issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, including three states -- Maryland, Washington, and Maine -- where voters approved it in ballot initiatives last year. Many states have specific laws blocking same-sex couples from legally marrying.

Lawmakers in Australia voted against a bill to legalize same-sex marriage last September. A poll for the advocacy group Australian Marriage Equality indicated that 64% of those surveyed "support marriage equality."

A law legalizing civil unions was introduced in 1999 in France under a previous Socialist government.

Known in France as the PACS, or pacte civil de solidarite, the civil union agreement can be entered into by same-sex or straight couples and confers many but not all of the rights of marriage.

READ MORE: French Senate backs same-sex marriage bill

READ MORE: Same-sex marriage: Who will legalize it next?

READ MORE: Gay rights in France: How even U.S. leads way

READ MORE: Protesters rally against same-sex marriage in France

CNN's Saskya Vandoorne contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 5:24 AM EDT, Tue September 23, 2014
The U.S. and several Arab nations carried out airstrikes against ISIS in Syria, intensifying the campaign against the militant group.
updated 8:18 AM EDT, Tue September 23, 2014
Her friends were raped and her brother was killed by ISIS, but 15-year-old "Aria" managed to escape.
updated 6:58 AM EDT, Tue September 23, 2014
Emma Watson lent her name and her glittery profile to the cause of feminism at the United Nations.
updated 9:06 PM EDT, Mon September 22, 2014
From Gadhafi to Ahmadinejad, Bush to Chavez: look back at memorable moments from past UNGA sessions. Richard Roth reports.
updated 3:41 AM EDT, Tue September 23, 2014
Just days after NASA's Mars orbiter reached the Red Planet, India's first mission could follow suit and make history.
updated 10:13 AM EDT, Tue September 23, 2014
Khorasan, al Qaeda's new branch, seeks new ways to attack America and Europe.
Alibaba officially became the biggest initial public offering of all time, confirming that in the final tally it raised $25 billion.
updated 10:57 PM EDT, Mon September 22, 2014
Do the Chinese really like to mix their Bordeaux with Coca-Cola?
updated 5:36 AM EDT, Tue September 23, 2014
Cape Town native, Janine Davies is South Africa's first female rider to compete on a national level.
In the largely male-dominated world of the motorsport, South African super bike racer Janine Davies is an anomaly.
updated 7:30 AM EDT, Tue September 23, 2014
The Lilongwe Wildlife Center houses over 200 animal victims and helps rehabilitate them back into the wild.
updated 6:52 AM EDT, Tue September 23, 2014
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT