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France PM: same-sex marriage, adoption laws to be introduced

Laws legalizing marriage and adoption for same-sex couples will soon be introduced in France, Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault told a French television station on Friday. Same-sex marriage [JURIST backgrounder] is currently banned by law in France. The prime minister's announcement comes nearly a year after the French National Assembly [official website, in French] voted to reject a bill [JURIST report] seeking to legalize same-sex marriage in France. Ayrault, who was appointed as prime minister on May 15, is a member of the Socialist Party (PS) [party website, in French], which backed the same-sex marriage bill last year. Ayrault did not indicate when the bills would be introduced.

France's same-sex marriage ban has been a subject of controversy in the country. Last year the Constitutional Council [official website, in French] ruled that the country's same-sex marriage ban does not violate the constitution [JURIST report]. The council emphasized it may only interpret existing laws under the constitution, but that the legislature has the power to make new laws allowing gay marriage. The Court of Cassation [official website, in French], the country's highest court of appeals, ordered the Constitutional Council in November 2010 to rule on the constitutionality [JURIST report] of the law. The order was made after a gay French couple challenged the ban in a Reims court, saying it limited their personal freedoms.

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