Same-Sex marriage became legal in France Saturday morning as President François Hollande signed the country’s “marriage for all” act into law.
France is the 14th country to legalize gay marriage. In the United States, Washington, D.C., and 12 states have legalized same-sex marriage.
President Hollande had promised to make same-sex marriage legal in the country within his first year in office. He will complete that first year on May 15th.
Just as in the United States, detractors were along religious lines. Hundreds of thousands protested against the measure, with occasional violence erupting. There is another protest planned for May 26. The majority of those opposed reside in the rural areas of France, who are often against the beliefs of Paris, who are labeled as “libertine”.
The law allows all couples to adopt children, but has no provision to aid gay couples in pro-creation methods.
The first same-sex weddings could take place as early as May 29th. France has a ten day waiting period after filing for a marriage license.
The legislation was a further irritation for conservatives. They have been at odds with Hollande and his administration over economic issues for the entirety of his first year in office. The nation has reached ‘triple-dip recession’.
Gay rights groups have reported an increase in hate crimes as parliament began its debates over same-sex marriage.
Hollande warned the protestors that he would not accept any disruption of the marriages to come.
One couple signed up Saturday to tie the knot on May 29 in the gay-friendly southern French city of Montpellier, frequently referred to as the ‘French San Francisco’.
“We’re very happy that today we can finally talk of love after all the talk of legislation and political battles,” one of the future newlyweds, Vincent Autin, said on France-Info radio.
Despite the number of protestors, the bill passed easily in both houses of parliament, which are controlled by the socialist party.
In neighboring Belgium, thousands of people took to the confetti-covered streets of Brussels to take part in an annual gay pride march on Saturday. Trucks blasting music and carrying dance floors made their way through cheering crowds. Belgium legalized gay marriage 10 years ago and permitted adoption for same-sex couples seven years ago.
The leader of the center-right Union for a Popular Movement, Jean-François Copé said he disagreed with the law as it stood but respected the decision of the Constitutional Council. “It is a decision that I regret but that I accept.”
The Guardian Expess