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France's National Assembly, the lower House of the legislature, completed passage of marriage equality legislation today with an overwhelming vote in favor, a margin of 331-225.

The National Assembly first passed similar legislation in February, 2013, tallying 329 votes in favor vs 229 against.  The French Senate passed an amended version a week and a half ago in a much closer vote, 171-165. The Senate version was what just passed in the National Assembly. The legislation still awaits President Hollande's signature and a sign off by its consitutional court.

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Everyone is reporting that France has become the 14th nation to legalize same-sex marriage, after Uruguay and New Zealand became the 12th and 13th respectively. In fact, New Zealand became the 12th nation to officially legalize (but not yet put into effect!) same-sex marriage just days ago when the Governor-General signed off on the legislation passed by that nation's parliament, while Uruguay's legislation still awaits its President's signature.

Therefore, to be precise, France will all but certainly become the 13th or 14th nation to legalize same-sex marriage, depending on how quickly Uruguay's President acts.

France will also have the distinction of becoming the largest nation, populationwise, to have national marriage equality, and will likely remain so for a while unless and until same-sex marriage becomes legal across all of Brazil, the United States and/or Germany.

The recent polling in France on same-sex marriage is not terribly consistent. The latest poll result had 53% in favor, while one earlier this year had 63%. All the polling listed in Wikipedia since 2008 shows majority support.

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When candidate Hollande (left, with his partner Valerie Trierweiller) campaigned for the French Presidency, he promised he would make same-sex marriage legal. He has now all but fullfilled that pledge, despite sometimes massive protests and counterprotests that erupted in these last months, along with violence against gays and some very nasty rhetoric by the opposition. Perhaps now he can do something about the French economy.

It is not clear yet exactly when French same-sex couples will be allowed to marry; whether, as with New Zealand, the law won't go into effect for some months, or whether it will take effect immediately after it becomes official. Here's the skinny on when the law will take effect, via Equality on Trial:

The legislation will now be considered by the Constitutional Council, whose judges have a month to declare any constitutional irregularities in the bill.  If the council finds nothing wrong with the bill (which equal marriage proponents do not expect it will), marriages will begin in mid-June.

Other marriage equality developments:

Late yesterday the Nevada Senate voted 12-9 to begin the process of putting a constitutional amendment to legalize same-sex marriage on the ballot. One Republican voted in favor along with every Democrat. If passed by the lower House, it would have to again be passed by both in 2015, and then voted on by the people in 2016. A long process, but that is the only path available, short of a ruling by the Supreme Court (or the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that wasn't taken to the Supreme Court) that Nevada's prohibition against same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.

The Delaware House should be voting today on marriage equality, as should the Rhode Island Senate Judiciary committee.

In a rather stunning development in Rhode Island

All five Republicans in the 38-member Rhode Island Senate - including Minority Leader Dennis Algiere of Westerly - plan to support the same-sex marriage bill backed by supporters of the issue, RIPR has learned...

The five members, including the Republican Minority Leader, votes make it very likely that Rhode Island will become yet one more state to join the freedom column in the struggle for full equality.

And a breaking development in Illinois:
As a final vote in the Illinois House of Representatives draws closer, the leader of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus announced today his signing on as one of the chief co-sponsors of the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act.
And as a tangentially related bonus, another riposte against NOM by Kossack Scott Wooledge.

8:18 AM PT: Tweets:

8:22 AM PT:

Originally posted to jpmassar on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 08:11 AM PDT.

Also republished by Kossacks for Marriage Equality, Progressive Policy Zone, Milk Men And Women, and Angry Gays.

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