• France's news in English
 

French parliament passes gay marriage bill

Published: 12 Feb 2013 18:33 GMT+01:00

After ten days of occasionally fraught debate, and some very late nights, deputies in France’s lower house on Tuesday evening adopted the bill by 329 votes to 229, comfortably surpassing the 280 required majority.

The vote means that France is now on its way to becoming the world’s 12th country to legalize same-sex marriage.

Reaction has been swift on both sides of the debate. Nicolas Gougain of the Inter-LGBT lobby group hailed the importance of today's vote: "This is a hugely important vote that will help push forward gay rights in France," Gougain told The Local. 

"In the past this was not possible because the wish of those in power did not match that of society as a whole, but today that is the case. We salute and recognise the work of the politicians in pushing this law through parliament."

The response among the general public has been mixed, but largely celebratory, as one Twitter user reflected.

We are so #happy! France votes finally FOR gay mariage! My friend is crying next to me. :) #same #love

— Louise Coomans (@LouiseCoomans) February 12, 2013

One gay opponent of the bill was philosophical in response to the historic vote.  Emmanuel Ducamp from the organization Homovox told The Local they would have to respect parliament's decision.

"We need to respect the decision of the people, made through the National Assembly. It does not mean we agree with the text of the bill. Now there is not much we can say. We will have to wait until it goes to the Senate and then the Constitutional Council to see if it becomes law. We have to admit that it has been passed by parliament," Ducamp said.

Indeed, the bill’s prospects in the French upper house are far from a foregone conclusions, as right-leaning French daily Le Figaro pointed out on Tuesday evening.

The Socialists have a majority of just six in the Senate, and will need the help of the Communists, greens and the radical left – some of whom may not be effusive in their support – to make the bill into law.

Those discussions are set to begin on March 18th.

'I'm proud to be alive at this moment.'

The National Assembly chamber, known as the ‘hemicycle’ because of its horseshoe design, witnessed a few emotional moments during speeches on Tuesday evening.

Centre-right UMP deputy Hervé Mariton was jeered as he began his remarks. "We love the words mother and father. You have tortured the French language", said Mariton.

“You are individualists and materialists. We are united and free,” he told the Socialist MPs.

Democratic and Republican Left MP Marie-George Buffet said: "This law allows France to start a new chapter. I'm proud to be alive at this moment."

Justice Minister Christiane Taubira, who has emerged as one of the stars of the two week debate, received a standing ovation at the commencement of her speech, and caused laughter on both sides of the chamber when she thanked all members “for your days, and for your nights” – a reference to some notably long sessions recently, where deputies pored over more than 5,000 amendments to the bill.

Before Tuesday evening’s long-awaited session, Socialist MP Sébastien Pietrasanta summed up the feelings of many gay marriage advocates with this tweet. "In a few minutes, I’m going to vote for marriage for all. One of the best votes I will have cast in favour of equality.”

In the end, though, the electronic voting in the chamber was over in a flash, and the announcement, by Socialist National Assembly Claude Bartolone, that the bill had surpassed the 280 votes required to be adopted, was greeted with rapturous applause.

Dan MacGuill (dan.macguill@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
French beach re-opens to public as Saudis leave
A woman watches as workmen dismantle the lift built for the Saudi royals. Photo: AFP

French beach re-opens to public as Saudis leave

UPDATED: Workers were busily returning a beach in southern France to its previous condition on Monday after the departure of Saudi King Salman, whose commandeering of the coastline had caused uproar among locals. READ  

Experts meet in Paris over Boeing 777 debris
Officials come the waterside in Réunion looking for more clues. Photo: AFP

Experts meet in Paris over Boeing 777 debris

French and Malaysian aviation experts met in Paris on Monday to probe the disappearance of Flight MH370, after mystery plane debris washed up on the French island of Réunion last week. READ  

Summer storms to batter south-western France
The heavy weather is expected to roll in at 7pm, not abating until 6pm on Tuesday. File photo: AFP

Summer storms to batter south-western France

Parts of France's south west are on high alert on Monday with wild weather set to create havoc in three coastal départements from the early evening on. READ  

French transport giant to upgrade London tube
The London underground is set to get some major improvements. Photo: Nico Hogg/Flickr

French transport giant to upgrade London tube

French transport systems giant Thales on Monday announced a €1 billion ($1.09 billion) deal to upgrade four lines of the London Underground. READ  

'Massacre' of black cats shocks Marseille locals
Black cats are being killed in the Marseille housing unit. Photo: nwartist/Flickr

'Massacre' of black cats shocks Marseille locals

A woman who feeds local cats in a Marseille housing block has been left horrified after the gruesome killing of black cats in the area - leaving her to wonder if a neighbour is "very superstitious". READ  

Migrants step up efforts to cross Channel Tunnel
Migrants in Calais are becoming ever-more desperate to cross the Channel to the UK. Photo: AFP

Migrants step up efforts to cross Channel Tunnel

Migrants in Calais made around 1,700 attempts overnight to penetrate the Channel Tunnel premises in a bid to get to England, French police sources said on Monday, and an officer sustained facial injuries from a stone. READ  

Rampaging kids trash French kindergarten
Speaking after the incident, officials in troubled Melun described the scene as an "apocalyptic landscape". File photo: Ella Novak

Rampaging kids trash French kindergarten

Police were called in on Saturday evening after a band of children, some of them as young as five, vandalized a nursery in the suburbs of Paris. READ  

Two Frenchmen mauled in Bayonne bullfight
Bullfighting is a popular tradition in the region. File photo: AFP

Two Frenchmen mauled in Bayonne bullfight

The Bayonne Festival in southern France ended on a sour note on Sunday when a bull jumped out of the bull ring and gored two men — one in the scrotum. READ  

Réunion wreckage
More debris found on Réunion in MH370 hunt
Local volunteers search for more potential plane debris and items on the shore in Saint-Andre, Reunion Island. Photo: Ouissem Gombra / Imaz Press Renuion / AFP

More debris found on Réunion in MH370 hunt

Investigators probing missing flight MH370 collected more debris on an Indian Ocean island on Sunday as Malaysia urged authorities in the region to be on alert for wreckage washing up on their shores. READ  

Calais migrants
Ending Calais migrants crisis is 'top priority'
French gendarmes stand facing a group of seated migrants as they block their way in the Eurotunnel site in Coquelles near Calais. Photo: Philippe Huguen/AFP

Ending Calais migrants crisis is 'top priority'

France and Britain vowed on Sunday that ending a crisis which has seen thousands of attempts by migrants to reach England from Calais in recent weeks is a "top priority". READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
Réunion's plane debris to be probed in France
Ten things you didn't know about Gay Paris
France eyes boost to holiday leave rights
Business & Money
French dating sites 'not protecting client privacy'
Features
Learn more about the Bayonne festival - France's wildest party
Features
What's on in France: Ten things to do in August
Features
What to see and do at the Paris Plages this summer
Saudi royals 'bar' French policewomen from beach
Take a closer look at the 560,000-year-old tooth found in France
National
Swiss army pilfers French water to give to thirsty cows
National
'B**ch' and 'brainless': French shop slurs clients
Travel
French cops rebel over order to give kids sweets
National
New measures to stop migrant deaths in Calais
Travel
Here are some of the most ridiculous comments you'll read about France
Features
Life may be about to get easier for expats settling in France
National
Burning tyres and blocking roads is just the way the French do strikes
National
Muslim tourists visiting French Alps are reminded of burqa ban
Opinion
Slim and chic: Are French women fed up of the stereotypes?
French officials defend handing public beach over to Saudi royals
Society
French kiss: Should expats in France do 'la bise' among themselves?
National
Paris commuters and tourists face summer of travel trouble
This man learnt the entire French vocabulary in nine weeks, but why?
French speed cameras snare tens of thousands of British drivers
Gallery
What kind of expat in France are you: A lover or a loather?
Society
French tweeters reveal the trials and tribulations of #GrowingupFrench
Where to find the best (and worst) quality of life in France
National
Riviera rumpus as Saudi royals grab public beach all for themselves
What we know about France's foiled terror plot
Features
Here are ten places in Paris where you can escape the summer heat
National
Coup d'état fails in France after being snubbed by military
Are shoppers in northern France the most honest in the world?
French woman fined €90 for driving in flip-flops
Cyclists in Paris get the green light to jump red
'Adieu France': Angry mum's parting rant goes viral
Franco-German rift opens over Greece and it could take time to heal
The Megavalanche: The most spectacular cycling event in France
Ex-French PM's daughter creates a buzz by going topless for photo shoot
Could Parisians be bathing in the Seine by 2024?
Paris unveils new mobile app to help non-French speakers
France declares war on public transport sex pests
So where's the best place to live in France if you want to be happy?
Opinion
Paris: The City of Light, Romance, Style and the worst loos in Europe?
National
Eight ways living in France will change your lifestyle for good
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,623
jobs available