France's Lower House Votes in Favor of Gay Marriage Bill

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France's lower house voted overwhelmingly Tuesday in favor of a bill that would make gay marriage fully legal in the country for the first time on Tuesday. According to reports by France 24 and other media outlets, the final tally was 329 in favor, 229 against.

As well as giving gay couples the same marriage rights as heterosexual couples, it will also afford them the same adoption rights as well. The measure is new President Francois Hollande's first piece of major social reform legislation, and its introduction was promised by him during his presidential campaign last year.

Here is some of the key information to emerge from Tuesday's session of the French parliament.

* The vote by France's National Assembly in favor of marriage reform comes just one week after the British parliament put through its first vote in favor of legalizing gay marriage as well. If passed, the two nations will join 11 other fellow members of the European Union in implementing marriage reform.

* The bill, informally dubbed the "marriage for all" law, has been the target of large organized protests in recent weeks as it was debated in the lower house. The Associated Press noted that the most recent protest, held just two weeks ago, drew 125,000 protesters, while an earlier protest held near the Eiffel Tower in January drew more than 340,000 protesters.

* Like Britain, France already allows civil unions, but that designation does not afford couples the right to adopt or to receive assistance in conceiving their own biological children.

* Hollande's Socialist Party has the majority in both the lower and upper houses of the French parliament, but some resistance to the bill is still expected, according to CNN International. At least one more large protest is scheduled to be held in March, and there are still many other legislators, religious groups, and local officials who stand opposed to it as well.

* The polling in France has indicated that gay marriage has the approval of the public by a slight margin, but the issues of equal adoption and conception rights do not have as much public support.

* The bill must still make it through the Senate and clear some other additional hurdles before being made into law. The Senate is expected to begin debating the bill on April 2, according to France 24. It is expected that the bill ultimately will have enough support from Hollande's Socialist Party deputies to pass that chamber of parliament as well.

Vanessa Evans is musician, traveler, and freelance writer with an interest in European studies and events.

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