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France Votes 'Oui' To Gay Marriage, Becoming 14th Nation To Allow Same-Sex Marriage

LE PARISIEN, LE MONDE, LIBERATION, FIGARO, EUROPE 1 (France)

Worldcrunch

PARIS – The French National Assembly legalized gay marriage on Tuesday, after months of tumultuous debate both in Parliament and on the streets.

The law was passed with 331 votes in favor, and 225 opposed.

“It is a historic vote,” wrote Le Parisien newspaper, as France becomes the ninth country in Europe and the 14th worldwide to legislate in favor of same-sex marriage.

The vote legalizes gay marriage as well as adoption by same-sex couples, reports Le Monde. The legal code will be amended to replace the words “husband” and “wife” by “spouse,” but the words “father” and “mother” will not be changed.

The anti-gay marriage protest movement took a violent turn in recent weeks, with several incidents of thugs assaulting patrons of gay bars and same-sex couples holding hands. Meanwhile right-wing extremist movements and ultra-conservative Catholic groups have radicalized the debate, alongside daily non-violent marches by opponents of the bill.

According to Le Figaro, about 1,000 police officers, including 700 to 800 anti-riot police in full gear were positioned in front of and around the National Assembly in Paris, ahead of the vote on Tuesday. Water cannons have also been deployed.

Legislators had reported receiving threatening letters in the weeks leading to the vote.

The opposition has said it would challenge the measure with the Constitutional Council, reports Libération, but there is little chance of the law being overturned on constitutional grounds. In a January ruling, the Council had stated: “Concretely, the Constitution is not an obstacle, which means that if one day Parliament adopts a law authorizing gay-marriage, there will be no constitutional problem.”

President François Hollande is expected to sign the bill into law in the coming weeks, and France could be uncorking Champagne for the first gay marriages as soon as June.

According to Europe 1, the 14 countries where gay marriage is legal are:

The Netherlands (2001)

Belgium (2003)

Canada (2005)

Spain (2005)

Norway (2006)

South Africa (2006)

Sweden (2009)

Portugal (2010)

Iceland (2010)

Argentina (2010)

Denmark (2012)

Uruguay (2013)

New Zealand (2013)

France (2013)

In the U.S., nine out of 50 states have voted in favor of gay-marriage. In Mexico, it is legal in Mexico City only.

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Society

In Northern Kenya, Where Climate Change Is Measured In Starving Children

The worst drought in 40 years, which has deepened from the effects of climate change, is hitting the young the hardest around the Horn of Africa. A close-up look at the victims, and attempts to save lives and limit lasting effects on an already fragile region in Kenya.

Photo of five mothers holding their malnourished children

At feeding time, nurses and aides encourage mothers to socialize their children and stimulate them to eat.

Georgina Gustin

KAKUMA — The words "Stabilization Ward" are painted in uneven black letters above the entrance, but everyone in this massive refugee camp in Kakuma, Kenya, calls it ya maziwa: The place of milk.

Rescue workers and doctors, mothers and fathers, have carried hundreds of starving children through the doors of this one-room hospital wing, which is sometimes so crowded that babies and toddlers have to share beds. A pediatric unit is only a few steps away, but malnourished children don’t go there. They need special care, and even that doesn’t always save them.

In an office of the International Rescue Committee nearby, Vincent Opinya sits behind a desk with figures on dry-erase boards and a map of the camp on the walls around him. “We’ve lost 45 children this year due to malnutrition,” he says, juggling emergencies, phone calls, and texts. “We’re seeing a significant increase in malnutrition cases as a result of the drought — the worst we’ve faced in 40 years.”

From January to June, the ward experienced an 800 percent rise in admissions of children under 5 who needed treatment for malnourishment — a surge that aid groups blame mostly on a climate change-fueled drought that has turned the region into a parched barren.

Opinya, the nutrition manager for the IRC here, has had to rattle off these statistics many times, but the reality of the numbers is starting to crack his professional armor. “It’s a very sad situation,” he says, wearily. And he believes it will only get worse. A third year of drought is likely on the way.

More children may die. But millions will survive malnutrition and hunger only to live through a compromised future, researchers say. The longer-term health effects of this drought — weakened immune systems, developmental problems — will persist for a generation or more, with consequences that will cascade into communities and societies for decades.

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