France has become the first European country to approve a law banning any veil that covers the face.  This ban includes the full body burqa that is often worn by Muslim women.  This law was passed Tuesday by the French Senate in a vote of 246 to 1.

The lower parliament approved the law in July and it will now take effect in the spring.  Surveys have shown that the people in France support the ban, with 82% in favor.

France isn’t the only country that supports the ban on the burqa.  Germany, Britain and Spain also have overwhelmingly large populations that back the idea.  Two thirds of Americans are opposed to the idea.

Anyone caught violating the law will be fined 150 euros ($190) and may be required to take a citizenship course.  Anyone who forces a woman to wear a burqa can receive a year in prison or a 15,000 euro ($19,000) fine.

The new law does come with some controversy.  The French Council of State says that the ban could violate international human rights laws.  They also say it could violate the constitution of France. While the council can offer advice on laws, the government does not have to follow it.

The ban does not apply to head coverings that do not cover the face.  Only those with mesh or fabric covering the face are banned by the law.