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France’s Senate debates gay marriage amid large protests

France’s Senate debates gay marriage amid large protests

France’s Senate has begun debating on a bill to legalize same-sex marriage and adoption, amid large protests from anti-gay protestors.

The National Assembly, the lower chamber of parliament, passed the bill in February.

The bill has caused huge controversy in France, mobilizing hundreds of thousands of people to protest for or against marriage equality.

In March, police in Paris used tear gas to disperse a protest when it got violent, and arrested dozens.

In a video released last month, an anti-gay marriage father was seen using his young child as a human shield against the police.

There are over 250 amendments the Senate will have to go through to decide on the finer aspects of the bill.

Like during the National Assembly debate, many of the amendments are designed to ensure the bill’s discussion takes as long as possible. In the previous debate, French lawmakers suggested polygamy and incest be added to the gay marriage bill.

Debate is likely to last until 12 or 13 April, with a vote expected to take place later this month.

While French Socialists have a smaller majority in the Senate than in the National Assembly, the upper house is still likely to pass the reform.

Two anti-gay marriage protests are planned for today, with one involving people blowing whistles and banging saucepans by the Senate’s building, and the other involving Catholics praying.

President Francois Hollande led his election campaign with the promise to champion same-sex marriage and adoption, and his support has not wavered.

A separate law on providing medically assisted conception to gay couples, already extended to heterosexual couples unable to conceive, will be debated later in the year.