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French Senate backs same-sex marriage

France's Senate [official website] voted on Friday in favor of a same-sex marriage bill that would allow same-sex couples to wed and adopt children. The bill [text, in French] will return in May to the National Assembly [official website] for final approval, and would then become law this summer. The approval comes just a week after the Senate's debate commenced [JURIST report]. The Socialist party of President Francois Hollande [official website, in French] holds a strong majority in the lower house, which approved [JURIST report] an earlier version of the text in February. This legislation was a keynote campaign pledge by the president and is one of France's most prominent social reforms. France would join 12 countries, half of which are in Europe, where same-sex marriage has been legalized. The bill has not come without opposition, however, as France remains largely Roman Catholic with strong conservative convictions. Many opponents are rallying under a movement called La Manif Pour Tous [advocacy website, in French], with hundreds of thousands of people marching and protesting in Paris and throughout the country. Most opposition is against same-sex couple adoption rather than marriage.

Same-sex marriage [JURIST backgrounder] has been a controversial issue across the globe recently. Last week, Uruguay's Senate voted 23-8 [JURIST report] in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage. The bill creates one law covering marriage for both heterosexual and homosexual couples. Last month the US Supreme Court heard oral arguments in United States v. Windsor [JURIST report], the second of two cases the court heard that week on same-sex marriage. In that argument, the court considered the validity of Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) [text; JURIST news archive], a federal law that recognizes only opposite-sex marriages for federal benefits purposes, despite state law on the issue.

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