The French National Assembly [official website, in French] on Tuesday voted 293-222 to reject a bill [materials, in French] seeking to legalize same-sex marriage [JURIST news archive]. The Union for Popular Movement (UMP) [official website, in French], a conservative political party lead by France's President Nicolas Sarkosy [official website, in French], opposed the bill [AP report] while the Socialist Party (PS) [official website] supported the proposal. Same-sex couples can form civil unions in France, but are not afforded inheritance or joint custody rights.
In January, France's Constitutional Council [official website, in French] ruled [opinion, text, in French] that the country's same-sex marriage ban [French Civil Code text] does not violate the constitution [text]. Same-sex marriage is recognized in several countries, including Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Iceland and Norway [JURIST reports], while several other countries, including the UK, France and Germany, recognize civil unions between same-sex partners. Same-sex marriage has also been recognized nationwide in Canada and South Africa, and in jurisdictions in Mexico and the US [JURIST reports].