France legalises gay marriage after harsh debate

NZ Herald 24 April 2013
Just days after New Zealand voted gay marriage into law, France has followed suit, becoming the 14th country to do so.

France’s lower house National Assembly overnight (NZT) adopted a bill legalising same-sex marriages and adoptions for gay couples, following months of opposition protests.

In its final reading, a majority of lawmakers approved the bill by a vote of 331 to 225, French media website reported.

“After 136 hours and 46 minutes of debate, Parliament has adopted the law opening marriage to same-sex couples,” the Socialist speaker of the Assembly, Claude Bartolone, said after the vote.

Unlike the largely joyous occasion in New Zealand, with talk in Parliament of “the most enormous big gay rainbow”, the French vote was clouded in acrimony.

As the vote took place, minor scuffles broke out in the public gallery and some opponents of the bill had to be forcefully ejected.

“Get these enemies of democracy out of the parliament,” Mr Bartolone shouted.

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