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France legalizes same-sex marriage

The French parliament approved Tuesday a bill to legalize same-sex marriage.

France marriage protests 11 1Enlarge
Anti-same sex marriage activist Frigide Barjot is kissed by another activist as they protest on April 23 in Paris some hours after the French National Assembly, France's lower house, adopted a bill legalizing same-sex marriages and adoptions for gay couples, defying months of opposition protests. (Francois Guillot/AFP/Getty Images)

After impassioned national debate, French lawmakers announced Tuesday that the country will become the 14th in the world to pass a law allowing same-sex marriage.

The passing of the bill in the lower house came amid strong opposition from conservatives, the BBC reported.

In the end, the decision to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry — and also to adopt — was won by a vote of 331 to 225.

The country's president, Francois Hollande, must sign the bill before it becomes law. During his election campaign last year Hollande pledged his support for same-sex marriage.

More from GlobalPost: Why gay marriage polarized France

Extra police and security were on alert following the decision, with authorities concerned about demonstrations and potential clashes between supporters and opponents around the National Assembly building.

France's decision comes just a week after New Zealand legalized marriage equalilty, becoming the first country in the Asia-Pacific region to do so.

Watch New Zealand parliament's celebratory reaction here:

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/france/130423/france-legalizes-same-sex-marriage