Published: 02 Feb 2013 13:10 GMT+01:00 | Print version
Updated: 02 Feb 2013 13:10 GMT+01:00
Breaking News: France's National Assembly on Saturday overwhelmingly approved the first and most important article of a controversial law that will allow gay couples to marry and adopt children.
Deputies voted 249-97 in favour of article one of the draft legislation which redefines marriage as being an agreement between two people rather than necessarily between a man and a woman.
Although the proposed law still faces at least another week of parliamentary scrutiny before a final vote scheduled for February 12, the ease with which it cleared the first hurdle indicated it is almost certain to emerge unscathed from the debate.
The article approved on Saturday was supported by deputies of the ruling Socialist Party, who enjoy an overall majority in the Assembly, other leftists and Greens as well as at least one member of the UMP, the main centre-right opposition force.
"We are happy and proud to have taken this first step," Justice Minister Christiane Taubira said. "We are going to establish the freedom for everyone to choose his or her partner for a future together."
UMP deputy Philippe Gosselin said the government was forcing through legislation that France did not want.
"Today it is marriage and adoption. Tomorrow it will be medically assisted conception and surrogate mothers," he said in comments that reflected the strength of feeling among opponents of the government's plans.
Opinion polls suggest a clear majority of French voters support the right of gay couples to wed and a narrower majority favour them being granted the right to adopt as couples (gay men and women can already adopt as individuals if approved by social services).
Massive demonstrations across the country have underlined that those who oppose gay marriage feel very strongly about the issue and President Francois Hollande has been accused of pushing the legislation through without proper consultation.
The Catholic church has been heavily involved in mobilising opposition and protests were scheduled to take place again Saturday in towns and cities
A national rally in Paris last month attracted hundreds of thousands of demonstrators and was at least twice as big as a protest staged by supporters of the reform.
High ranking ministers in the French government can expect a grilling in the coming days as an investigation into a tax fraud scandal got underway on Tuesday. The probe was set up after the former budget minister admitted having a secret bank account. READ () »
Hopes that France's long, hard winter would be followed by a warm, sunny spring have been well and truly washed out after a weekend of heavy rain and storms. The country's weather agency saying more bad weather is on the way. READ () »
The French Interior Minister reassured the public on Tuesday that a global operation involving French and international police was underway to track down fugitive Redoine Faid, who remains at large after blasting his way out of prison in April. READ () »
VIDEO: French police have charged a minibus driver carrying a group of Marseille football supporters who were involved in a mass brawl with fans of fierce rivals Lyon at a motorway toll plaza in the south of France at the weekend. READ () »
Hundreds of French Facebook users bared all this week in a protest against the social media site’s strict censorship of nude photos. But the “Day of Nude” protest was cut short early when Facebook's photo police took swift action. READ () »
The French government may still be celebrating the victory of seeing its divisive gay marriage bill finally signed into law but the battle over the issue of same-sex unions in France now looks set to move from a national to a local level. READ () »
An angry Chinese film producer had some harsh words to say about France this week, suggesting the country had a problem with public safety and arrogance after being the victim of a burglary at the Cannes Film Festival. READ () »
A proposal to introduce more courses in English and other foreign languages at French universities is set to be debated in parliament from Wednesday amid concerns it will undermine the country's soul and identity. READ () »
A 48-year-old divorced Briton locked in a bitter custody battle confessed on Sunday that he had killed his two young children by slitting their throats near the eastern French city of Lyon. READ () »
As Carlo Ancelotti paid fulsome tribute to the retiring David Beckham the Paris Saint Germain manager revealed an announcement on his own future may be imminent. READ () »