Le Monde reported the provision passed by a 179-157 vote margin after senators debated it for more than 10 hours — lawmakers on April 2 began to consider the same-sex marriage and adoption bill the National Assembly approved in February by a 329-229 vote margin.
An estimated 300,000 people marched through the streets of Paris late last month in opposition to the measure — police used tear gas and batons against roughly 200 protesters who had tried to march on the Champs Elysées without a permit. More than 100,000 people in January marched through the French capital in support of the proposal.
“The vote of this article marks a victory in the fight against homophobia and for tolerance and democracy,” Sen. François Rebsamen said in a statement to Le Monde.
French lawmakers still need to consider the bill’s remaining provision before it receives final approval, but observers noted the same-sex marriage amendment was the most important hurdle that supporters had to overcome.
President François Hollande, who endorsed marriage and adoption rights for same-sex couples during his 2012 presidential campaign, has pledged to sign the bill into law.
“France is poised to become the latest country — 16 on four continents — where loving and committed gay couples can share in the freedom to marry, and it won’t be the last this year,” Freedom to Marry President Evan Wolfson said in a statement that noted lawmakers in Uruguay and New Zealand have approved same-sex marriage bills in recent weeks. “Like France, the United States extols liberty, equality, and fairness; it is time for our country, too, to end the denial of marriage and live up to our best values.”