PARIS, April 12 (UPI) -- France's Senate approved a bill to legalize gay marriage Friday, officials said. The bill must now be passed by the lower house to become a law.
The Senate approved the first article of the bill -- which would legalize gay marriage in France and allow gay couples to adopt children -- on Wednesday and the entire bill on Friday, Radio France Internationale reported.
The lower house of France's Parliament is expected to vote on, and pass, the bill in May, Radio France Internationale said.
Justice Minister Christiane Taubira said the bill strengthens French society "by granting the simple recognition of full citizenship to homosexual couples."
On Thursday, gay-rights activists held a protest in Paris linking opponents of the bill to homophobia.
Opponents of the bill have denied the accusations, saying while between 55 and 60 percent of French people support gay marriage, only 50 percent approve of gay couples being allowed to adopt children.