France legalizes gay marriage after harsh debate

France legalizes gay marriage after harsh debate

Credit: AFP/Getty Images

Hundreds of people opposed to same-sex marriage protest on April 22, 2013 in Nantes, western France, as anti-riot policemen stand to prevent incidents with some same-sex marriage supporters who also demonstrate in Nantes at the same time. The National Assembly will vote tomorrow on a controversial bill to legalize same sex marriages. AFP PHOTO / FRANK PERRY (Photo credit should read FRANK PERRY/AFP/Getty Images)

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Associated Press

Posted on April 23, 2013 at 9:02 AM

Updated Tuesday, Apr 23 at 12:29 PM

PARIS (AP) — French lawmakers have legalized same-sex marriage after months of bruising debate and street protests that brought hundreds of thousands to Paris.

Today's 331-225 vote came in the Socialist-majority National Assembly. France's justice minister says the first weddings could be as soon as June.

Opponents of the law say France is not ready to legalize adoption for same-sex couples, and polls show the French to be sharply divided on the issue.

Thousands of police mobilized ahead of the vote, preparing for dueling protests around the National Assembly building and along the Seine River. At least one spectator was ejected from the gallery.

France is the 14th country to legalize gay marriage. The vote comes a week after New Zealand allowed same-sex couples to wed, with little controversy.

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