French members of Parliament applaud at the French National Assembly in Paris after the assembly voted by a clear majority to adopt legislation allowing same-sex couples to marry and adopt children. The formal vote came 10 days after lawmakers voted overwhelmingly in favor of its key article, which redefines marriage as a contract between two people rather than between a man and a woman. The law will now go for approval by the upper house of Parliament.
France Moves Closer to Marriage Equality

By Trudy Ring

Originally published on February 12 2013 1:33 PM ET

The lower house of France’s Parliament today passed a bill granting marriage and adoption rights to same-sex couples, moving it a step closer to becoming law.

The National Assembly approved the bill by a vote of 329-229, and it now goes to the Senate, where passage is likely, the Associated Press reports.

The bill has the support of the Socialist Party, which controls the Senate. That is also the party of President François Hollande and Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault.

“This law is going to extend to all families the protections guaranteed by the institution of marriage,” Ayrault said before the vote, according to the AP. “Contrary to what those who vociferate against it say — fortunately they’re in the minority — this law is going to strengthen the institution of marriage.”

Added Socialist representative Corinne Narassiguin: “This law is a first necessary step, a social evolution that benefits society overall. Opening up marriage and adoption to homosexual couples is a very beautiful advance. ... It is an emblematic vote, a vote that will mark history.”

France joins the United Kingdom in making a move toward marriage equality; they would be the largest European countries with equal marriage rights for gay couples.