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First gay marriage step passes in France

Feb. 2, 2013 at 2:37 PM
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PARIS, Feb. 2 (UPI) -- French lawmakers have overwhelmingly approved the first in a series of measures aimed at legalizing gay marriage.

A majority bloc of left-wing Members of Parliament voted to redefine marriage as between two people rather than between one man and one woman.

The 249-97 vote included support from just one member of the nation's conservative bloc, Radio France Internationale said Saturday. Conservatives tried unsuccessfully to block the measure with a number of delay tactics, including a proposal to allow same-sex couples to enter into a "civil alliance."

It was defeated 171-71.

France's Socialist Party, led by President Francois Hollande, had pledged during the 2012 election to legalize same-sex marriage.

The BBC said polls suggest between 55 percent and 60 percent of French citizens support same-sex marriage.

"We are happy and proud to have taken this first step," Justice Minister Christiane Taubira said.

A final vote on the measure is scheduled for Feb. 12.

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