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France's senate takes up gay marriage debate

Thursday - 4/4/2013, 12:57pm  ET

French Justice Minister Christiane Taubira delivers a speech during a debate on a government project to legalize same-sex marriage and adoption for same-sex couples, in the French Senate, Paris, France, Thursday, April 4, 2013. France's lower house of parliament approved a bill permitting same sex-marriages with a large majority last month. (AP Photo/Jacques Brinon)

PARIS (AP) -- France's upper house of parliament has begun debating a bill to legalize gay marriage and allow same-sex couples to adopt children, weeks after the divisive reform was passed in the lower house.

The senate debate is scheduled to last until April 13. Last month the National Assembly approved the measure, putting France on track to join about a dozen mostly European nations that allow gay marriage. Both houses are dominated by President Francois Hollande's Socialist Party and its allies.

Opponents of the reform organized protests outside the senate building near Paris' Luxembourg Gardens.

Polls indicate a narrow majority of French support legalizing gay marriage, though that support falls when questions about the adoption and conception of children come into play.

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