France approves same-sex marriage

France has become the 14th country to legalise same-sex marriage, pushing through François Hollande’s flagship social change after months of street protests, political slanging matches and a rise in homophobic attacks.

After 331 votes for and 225 votes against, there were chants of “Equality. Equality.” in the French assembly, where the Socialists have an absolute majority. But thousands of riot police and water cannons were in place near the parliament building in Paris in advance of planned demonstrations against the law.

The right to marriage and adoption for everyone regardless of sexual orientation has proved bitterly divisive in France, triggering the biggest conservative and rightwing street protests in 30 years. Recent weeks have seen more than 200 arrests as police teargassed late-night demonstrators near parliament. More than 172 hours of heated debate in the assembly and the senate meant the bill was one of the most debated in recent history, with furious clashes and a near fist-fight between politicians — via redwolf.newsvine.com

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