France has taken an big step towards allowing same-sex marriage and giving gay couples the right to adopt children.
The Assembly in Paris approved a clause that is central in the controversial draft law by 249 votes to 97.
If the bill is passed as whole, this vote means two people will no longer have to be of different gender to have the right to marry each other.
The planned reform has already led to vigorous debate and robust opposition. There were gatherings to protest against the parliament’s vote in towns and cities all over France.
Demonstrating in Paris against a change in the law, Christine Rosset said: “Marriage has a very specific connotation. It’s a mother and a father who aim to have children. So it’s not two people of the same sex. That’s outside the nature of the word marriage.”
The French Assembly began debating the bill as a whole earlier in the week.
Such are the sentiments that it has aroused that more than 5,000 amendments to the draft have been presented.
Even with MPs working through the weekends, the debate is expected to last two weeks.