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Same-sex marriage in France took a major step towards becoming legal when the National Assembly approved a controversial draft law.

It is the most divisive reform of Francois Hollande’s socialist presidency.

A delighted leader of the Socialist MPs in the Assembly, Bruno Le Roux said: “We won’t judge people in terms of their sexual orientation
by differentiating any more. It’s one fewer difference to be made, so it really is a great day for equal rights.”

Opposition to the marriage-for-all law, which includes the right to adopt, is still strong from conservatives in predominantly Catholic France, along with many French Muslims and evangelical Christians.

One of the loudest opposition voices, Frigide Barjot said: “The debate will continue and resume at the Senate where senators will be able to say why the adoption law – which creates a new line of descent not based on blood, without a father and mother for a child, will have very serious consequences.”

The bill has prompted hundreds of thousands of protesters from both sides to demonstrate in several events. A poll last month suggested a pretty even split in the population, with the pro-camp slightly ahead.

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