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    France legalizes same-sex marriage

    Becomes 14th country in the world to approve rights

    Protesters demonstrated against gay marriage in Paris. The law will also open adoption to same-sex couples.
    Yoan Valat/EPA
    Protesters demonstrated against gay marriage in Paris. The law will also open adoption to same-sex couples.

    PARIS — With a definitive vote by the lower house of Parliament, France on Tuesday became the 14th nation, and the third in just two weeks, to approve marriage rights for same-sex couples.

    The legislation is expected to be approved by the Constitutional Council and signed into law by President Francois Hollande to allow the country’s first same-sex weddings to take place this summer.

    The passage of the ‘‘marriage for all’’ law, sponsored by Hollande, a Socialist, came after months of sometimes angry debate and major protests that drew Roman Catholics from France’s rural regions and received the backing of religious leaders and the conservative political opposition. Antigay violence had risen in recent weeks, with a handful of attacks on gay and lesbian couples reported across the country.


    The legislation was approved by a vote of 331-225 in the National Assembly, the lower house, where the left holds a strong majority. Eleven legislators from the center and right broke with party lines to support the law, although there were indications that some of those votes may have been cast by mistake. There were 10 abstentions.

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    Opposition to the law, which also opens adoption to same-sex couples, remained strong and vocal even after the vote.

    Parliamentarians from the country’s main opposition party, the center-right Union for a Popular Movement, announced that they would challenge the legality of the new law before the Constitutional Council, a high court that rules on matters of constitutionality. And organizers for an opposition movement called La Manif Pour Tous, or Protest for All, said they intended to continue to demonstrate. Police officers were reportedly stationed in the thousands Tuesday outside the National Assembly, where opponents have held daily protests, some of which have degenerated into violent clashes with security forces.

    Hundreds of thousands of opponents have demonstrated across France in recent weeks, with much of their attention focused on the law’s provision for adoption by gay couples; they denounced what they called a threat to the foundations of French society and an injustice for children who will be raised by parents of the same sex. The tagline for La Manif Pour Tous reads, ‘‘All born from a man and a woman.’’