Late Tuesday night the French Senate approved the first article of the marriage equality legislation, which grants same-sex couples the right to marry, by a vote of 179–157 after 10 hours of debate. This is not the final step for the bill, but suggests its likelihood of passing. The Senate must still approve a separate article providing same-sex couples the right to adopt, following which the upper house will vote on the full final bill, all of which could happen before the week is over.
Though polls show a significant majority of French citizens support the bill, it has considered significant divisions among the French people. During a large demonstration in Paris last month opposing marriage equality, some protesters attempted to challenge police barricades, leading to a violent clash. The division is leading to an increase in homophobic attacks, including a horrible beating of a gay man this weekend — who many have called “the face of homophobia” for his bruised and bloody appearance.
The French General Assembly passed the marriage equality bill in February by a 100 vote margin (329–229).