Gays and lesbians in France may soon be able to marry and become parents.
The marriage equality bill currently before lawmakers would grant French same-sex couples the right to wed and jointly adopt children.
Although the first article of the bill, which removes all gender references from marriage applications, was approved in the National Assembly on Feb. 2, opponents added more than 5,000 amendments in order to slow down the legislation's passage. Final approval of the whole bill occurred on Feb. 12 with a vote of 329 to 229, the CBC reported.
On Tuesday, the first article passed in the French Senate by a vote of 179-157, the San Diego Gay and Lesbian News reported. The Senate will now proceed to vote on the rest of the many amendments before sending the entire bill back to the National Assembly for final approval in May.
Although most polls show support for gay marriage, many in France are not quite ready to accept this change. For the past six months, hundreds of thousands have participated in demonstrations in opposition of marriage equality. Most of the opposition is backed by conservative religious institutions, which claim the legislation will create psychological and social problems for children.
Marches in support of gay marriage have also brought thousands to the streets of Paris. After one such demonstration on Jan. 27, Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe, who is openly gay, said on French TV: "There is a big difference between today's march and the one two weeks ago, which is that this demonstration is one of brotherhood, not of hatred."
President Francois Hollande has already declared his intent to support the law.
Same-sex marriage is now legal in 11 other countries including Argentina, Canada, Spain and South Africa. Nine U.S. states and Washington D.C. also allow gays to wed.