Liberté, égalité, fraternité! The French National Assembly has overwhelmingly approved the first article in a bill that would recognize marriage equality and gay adoptions, reports Agence France Presse.
Deputies voted 249-97 in favour of article one of the draft legislation, which redefines marriage as being an agreement between two people rather than necessarily between a man and a woman. The article approved on Saturday was supported by deputies of the ruling Socialist Party, who enjoy an overall majority in the Assembly, other leftists and Greens as well as at least one member of the UMP, the main centre-right opposition force.
"We are happy and proud to have taken this first step," Justice Minister Christiane Taubira said. "We are going to establish the freedom for everyone to choose his or her partner for a future together."
Justice Minister Christiane Taubira would implement the new bill if it becomes law. Taubira is the highest ranking Black cabinet official ever in French government.
The debate began in parliament last week and will continue through a final vote scheduled for February 12. The bill is expected to pass. France would become the 12th nation to recognize equal marriage. Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Iceland, Norway Portugal, the Netherlands, South Africa, Spain and Sweden already mandate equal marriage.