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The French national assembly, the lower house of parliament, has approved a bill to legalise homosexual marriages.

There were 329 votes for, 229 against and 10 abstentions.

The vote follows months of debate and controversy that provoked mass rallies across France both for and against.

The bill will be examined by the Senate from March 18.

Legalising gay marriages and adoptions was a key pledge of President François Hollande’s election campaign.

Polls show most French people are in favour.

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