France became the ninth European nation to approve a same-sex marriage law after its National Assembly voted today to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry, according to multiple media outlets.

The measure, which passed 331 to 225, came after several days of intense protests throughout the French capitol. Thousands rallied over the weekend and into Monday for and against the proposed legislation.

French President Francois Hollande, the head of the country's left-leaning socialist party, campaigned on marriage equality during France's 2012 elections. Hollande is expected to sign the measure into law.

French lawmakers approve same-sex marriage

If it survives possible legal challenges, France would become the largest country (by population) to grant marriage rights to gay and lesbian couples. It would be the 14th country worldwide to allow gay couples to marry.

France follows on the heels of New Zealand, where lawmakers last week approved a similar marriage equality law that is set to begin in August.