France is another step closer to legalizing same-sex marriage. On Tuesday, the French Senate passed the first article of the bill for marriage equality, which removes the requirement for different genders as a condition of the right to marry.
The first article won by a vote of 179-157 after more than 10 hours of discussion, and is said to be the most crucial part of the marriage equality legalization process for the country. The rest of the amendments for the bill will be voted on by the Senate before they hand it off to The National Assembly once again for final approval in May.
This is a big step for the LGBT community, who have been waiting for the bill to be passed on to officials for some time. In order to slow down the process, anti-gay legislators added 5,000 parts to the bill, but according to AFT, the National assembly already passed it in a vote of 329-229 in February, and will not need to see it again.
According to French publication The Local, “Despite the efforts of gay marriage opponents in the chamber, the article was also passed ‘conforme’— that is, without any modifications, or amendments, and on the first vote, which means it will not have to go back to the lower house. While Tuesday night’s vote does not formally cement gay marriage in French law, the Senate would now have to reject the entire bill, to prevent it becoming definitive, however that now appears unlikely.”
As the LGBT community celebrates, anti-gay protestors are outraged. Thousands of anti-gay supporters have been protesting and marching to ban same-sex marriage since talk of the bill began.
An estimated 300,000 people in Paris marched in an anti-gay protest held in March, a gathering that ended in police spraying tear gas at people jumping barricades.
Anti-gay supporters say that this decision will corrupt children and that it is unnatural to have anything other than a “traditional” heterosexual marriage.
Despite anti-gay protests, a national poll shows that France is in favor of same-sex marriage, and French President Francois Hollande has said he is in favor of legalization.
If the legislation does go through, France will be the world’s 12th country to legalize same-sex marriage.