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France lawmakers approve same-sex marriage bill

France's lower house of parliament, the National Assembly [official website, in French], approved a bill [text, in French] on Tuesday which extends marriage and adoption rights to same-sex couples. The bill was approved [CNN report] by a vote of 329 in favor to 229 against, with 10 abstaining, and must ultimately be approved by the senate in order to become law. The senate, which is dominated by Socialists [BBC report], is expected to approve the measure. Despite being backed by French Socialist President Francois Hollande [official website, in French; BBC profile], the bill has been controversial, and last month 350,000 demonstrators [NPR report, transcript] took to the streets to protest its passage. If the bill becomes law, France will become the twelfth country to approve same-sex marriage.

Same-sex marriage [JURIST backgrounder] has been controversial globally in recent years. Earlier this month, the UK Parliament approved [JURIST report] a same-sex marriage bill. Last month, the US Supreme Court [official website] received briefs [JURIST report] in two separate cases defending the constitutionality of laws that define marriage as strictly between one man and one woman. Also last month, the Rhode Island House of Representatives approved a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage in the state. In June of 2012, Denmark approved a same-sex marriage law [JURIST report], making it the eleventh country to do so. In May of 2012, the City of Buneos Aires passed a resolution [JURIST report] to recognize same-sex marriages for non-citizens,making it the fourth district in Argentina to legalize such marriages. That same month, the Israeli Knesset rejected a bill that would have legalized civil marriages not approved by Jewish Law, including same sex marriages.

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