By Anna Peirano
On Saturday, deputies in France’s National Assembly voted 249-97 in favor of Article One of the draft law, redefining marriage as a union between two people, not just a man and woman.
The proposed law will still be debated for another week before a final vote, scheduled for February 12, but it’s believed that the bill as a whole will pass with little objection.
“We are happy and proud to have taken this first step,” Justice Minister Christiane Taubira said. “We are going to establish the freedom for everyone to choose his or her partner for a future together.”
Opponents have been demonstrating throughout France in protest of the legislation, with the largest drawing over 340,000 people in Paris last month.
Opinion polls suggest that a majority of voters support same-sex marriage, but a narrower margin believe same-sex couples should be granted the right to adopt. Those against the legislation are gather 500,000 signatures to present to lawmakers in the hopes of blocking the law’s progress.
It is expected that the legislation will reach the statute books by the middle of the year, AFP reports.