The 329-229 vote capped off a marathon debate on the proposal that began on Jan. 29.
Opponents and supporters of same-sex marriage and gay adoption also staged a number of demonstrations through the streets of Paris over the last few months that drew hundreds of thousands of people.
“Today France took an important first step on the path for full equality for all citizens,” Brian Ellner, who directed the Human Rights Campaign’s efforts in support of New York’s same-sex marriage bill that Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law in June 2011, told the Washington Blade immediately after the vote. He is among the more than 100,000 people who took part in a Jan. 27 demonstration in the French capital in support of the bill. “We all look forward to final passage of the law and the impact it will have around the globe, including here in the United States.”
Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands and Spain are among the European countries that allow same-sex couples to marry.
The British House of Commons last week overwhelmingly approved a bill that would allow gays and lesbians to tie the knot in England and Wales — a parliamentary committee on Tuesday debated the proposal. Scottish lawmakers in the coming weeks are also expected to consider the issue.
“This is a historic moment for France,” Andre Banks, executive director of All Out, which delivered 200,000 signatures in support of the proposal to lawmakers and ministers, said. “French polls overwhelmingly demonstrate French people are in favor of marriage for gays and lesbians. I hope the French Senate passes the bill swiftly.”
The French Senate is expected to begin debating the proposal on April 2.