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French Senate OK’s same-sex marriage

PARIS — The French Senate approved a bill on Friday to allow same-sex couples to wed and adopt children, leaving France poised to join the small group of nations that have fully legalized gay marriage, despite an unexpectedly vocal campaign by conservative opponents.

A final vote on the legislation, which figured among the campaign promises of the leftist president, Francois Hollande, has been scheduled for next week in the lower house of Parliament, where the Senate’s minor amendments are expected to easily pass. Hollande’s Socialist Party holds a strong majority in the lower house, which approved an earlier version in February.

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Should the bill pass, however, parliamentary conservatives have vowed to challenge its constitutionality, though precedent suggests that a rejection by the Constitutional Council, the court that rules on such matters, would be unlikely.

In France, the left has broadly supported the bill on gay marriage, which many supporters prefer to call ‘‘marriage for all.’’

On Friday, the Senate vote fell largely along partisan lines, 179-157.

‘‘You have consolidated and reinforced the Republican pact,’’ said Justice Minister Christiane Taubira, who has been the government’s foremost defender of the bill, speaking before the Senate after the vote. In opening marriage to same-sex couples, Taubira said, ‘‘we are simply recognizing their full citizenship.’’

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