A week after New Zealand musically ushered in gay marriage, France has become planet Earth's 14th nation to legalize same-sex unions. The measure passed today, 331-225, in the National Assembly following weeks of massive and crippling protests against it, reports the BBC, and President Francois Hollande is set to sign it. The legislation, which also gives same-sex couples the right to adopt, is expected to face a legal challenge from opponents that include the Catholic Church, adds CNN.
A small majority of the French people favor gay marriage, though the issue has proven to be a hot button; thousands of police are at the ready as renewed protests were expected, notes the AP. France's justice minister says that the first weddings could take place as soon as June.