France OKs Gay Marriage
Opponents expected to mount legal challenge, protests
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 23, 2013 11:05 AM CDT
Demonstrators march during a rally to protest against French President Francois Hollande's social reform on gay marriage and adoption in Paris, Sunday, April 21, 2013.   (AP Photo/Michel Euler)
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(Newser) – 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.