French parliament passed on Tuesday the bill that legalizes gay marriage and adoption by homosexual couples despite strong oppositions from the public that sparked the largest protest in 30 years, where hundreds of thousands of protesters flooded the nation's capital.
The French lower house of parliament passed the "marriage for all" bill easily, 331-225, which opens marriage and adoption to same-sex couples with identical rights previously limited to heterosexual unions.
Addressing the lower house after the vote, French Justice Minister Christiane Taubira, who described the legislation as beautiful and generous and said she was very emotional, declared that the first same-sex weddings could take place as early as June.
The right to marriage and adoption for everyone regardless of sexual orientation has sparked the biggest conservative and right-wing street protests in 30 years.
Some of the protests have turned violent in recent weeks and there have been growing numbers of attacks on homosexual couples and gay bars in Paris and other major cities. Also, the president of the National Assembly received a threatening letter on Monday.
According to police estimates, about 45,000 people attended one of the final anti-gay-marriage rallies in Paris Sunday. Some brought children and many waved pink banners sporting images of heterosexual families.
It is believed that the protests it has prompted aren’t likely to end any time soon. Political conservatives, social traditionalists and members of all of France’s main religious organizations have loudly voiced their common hostility to a measure they see as deforming the institution of marriage and family unit.
The vote makes France the ninth country in Europe and 14th country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage. More than half of them are in Europe.
Opponents called for a massive protest outside the French National Assembly for Tuesday evening, while pro-bill organizations called for celebration rallies.