France is officially the 14th country to legalize gay marriage. Saturday, President Francois Hollande signed a bill that Parliament had passed in April, which gives same-sex couples the right to marry and adopt.
Opposition had stalled Hollande's action. As the BBC reports, after the Senate and National Assembly approved the bill, it "was quickly challenged on constitutional grounds by the main right-wing opposition UMP party of former president Nicolas Sarkozy."
Friday, a ruling by the Constitutional Council cleared the way for the president's signature. The council found the bill in accordance with the constitution, but France 24 says the body's statement "added a caveat ... saying that the legality of gay adoption did not establish the 'right to a child' and emphasizing that the interests of the children involved would continue to be the overriding consideration."
The highly charged debate spilled onto the streets when the bill first passed, as The Two-Way reported last month, and it is expected to do so again. NPR's Eleanor Beardsley tells our Newscast Desk:
"Many were surprised by the tough resistance to the measure in France, as the country is considered socially liberal. But a Catholic and more conservative heartland reared its head in opposition, holding massive protests over the last year.
"Their biggest argument, they say, is not against homosexuality, but that children deserve a father and a mother. Heretofore, same-sex couples could join in civil unions, but had to adopt abroad."
Beardsley reports a major opposition protest is scheduled for May 26 in Paris.