By Michelle Garcia
Originally published on Advocate.com April 23 2013 11:30 AM ET
Onlookers toasted with glasses of champagne outside the National Assembly as French lawmakers voted to establish legal marriage equality for the country's same-sex couples.
The lower house voted 331-225 in a final vote Tuesday. The Senate approved the bill earlier this month, and President François Hollande has already pledged to sign the bill into law. In addition to securing marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples, the bill would also give same-sex couples the right to adopt children. Once the law is finalized, France will be the ninth country in Europe and the 14th in the world (along with New Zealand and Uruguay, which have recently approved bills that are awaiting signature) to provide marriage rights to all of its citizens.
Still, several antigay groups, some affiliated with the Catholic Church and other religious or conservative organizations, have declared that they will continue a legal battle by filing a legal challenge with the Constitutional Council, CNN reports. Tensions remain high as continued protests are also planned throughout the country as a reaction to the vote. A gay man was attacked in Nice, and a gay bar in Lille was the target of attacks last week, in reaction to the movement toward legalizing same-sex marriage in the nation. In fact, just moments before the Socialist-led National Assembly completed the final vote, an antigay protester was ejected from the legislature for being disruptive.
"Only those who love democracy are here," said Claude Bartelone, the assembly's president.