France lays foundation for same sex marriage
PARIS (AFP) - France's National Assembly has overwhelmingly approved the key article of legislation that will allow gay couples to get married and adopt children.
Deputies voted 249-97 in favour of Article One of the draft law, which redefines marriage as being a contract between two people, rather than necessarily between a man and a woman.
Although the proposed law still faces at least another week of scrutiny before a final vote scheduled for Feb 12, it now looks set to emerge from parliament undelayed and undiluted.
After months of frenzied debate, the ease with which the law cleared its first major hurdle was welcomed by delighted gay rights activists.