France legalizes gay marriage after harsh debate

Published: Tuesday, April 23, 2013 10:23 a.m.CDT • Updated: Tuesday, April 23, 2013 10:34 a.m.CDT
Caption
(Michel Euler)
Frigide Barjot, leader of the movement against gay marriage, 2nd right, talks to the media as she visits mothers, who take part in a vigil to protest against French President Francois Hollande's social reform on gay marriage and adoption next to the Eiffel tower in Paris, Monday, April 22, 2013. Both houses of the French parliament have already approved the bill in a first reading. The second and final reading is expected Tuesday. Eiffel tower is seen in the background. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

PARIS – French lawmakers have legalized same-sex marriage after months of bruising debate and street protests that brought hundreds of thousands to Paris.

Tuesday's 331-225 vote came in the Socialist majority National Assembly. France's justice minister, Christiane Taubira, said the first weddings could be as soon as June.

Opponents of the law say France is not ready to legalize adoption for same-sex couples, and polls show a France sharply divided on the issue.

Thousands of police mobilized ahead of the vote, preparing for dueling protests around the National Assembly building and along the Seine River. At least one spectator was ejected from the gallery.

France is the 14th country to legalize gay marriage, and Tuesday's vote comes a week after New Zealand — with very little controversy — allowed same-sex couples to wed.

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