• 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
Waterloo: Why is it still taboo for the French?
A Waterloo reenactment. Photo: AFP

Waterloo: Why is it still taboo for the French?

France stood accused this week of "sulking" because it failed to nominate any high-ranking official to attend the gigantic commemoration for the 200-year anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo. READ  

France's cheapest holiday spots revealed
Holidayers in Nice, southern France. Photo: AFP

France's cheapest holiday spots revealed

It doesn't take a genius to figure out that Paris is the most expensive region in France to spend a summer holiday... but where is the cheapest? A new study has found the answer. READ  

France pulls up sunken tyres from artificial reefs
The tyres are hauled up from the seabed. Photo: AFP

France pulls up sunken tyres from artificial reefs

Tourists and film stars hitting the beach at the French Riviera resort of Cannes may be blissfully unaware but lurking beneath the sparkling waves are tens of thousands of now troublesome scrap tyres, sunk deliberately to boost marine development. READ  

French films
The best French films you've never heard of
French actor Tahar Rahim in a scene from A Prophet. Photo: YouTube/Screengrab

The best French films you've never heard of

With the Cannes Film Festival nearing its end and with everyone talking about everything film - we take a look back at the best ten French movies you've probably never heard of, thanks to French cinema expert Judith Prescott. READ  

Tourism in Paris
Eiffel Tower shuts as staff protest pickpockets
Tourists at the France's iconic Eiffel Tower. Photo: AFP

Eiffel Tower shuts as staff protest pickpockets

The Eiffel Tower was closed on Friday morning, as workers protested over the scourge of pickpockets around the famous monument, who they say have threatened and attacked them. READ  

Paris couple found in flat with throats slit
Photo: AFP

Paris couple found in flat with throats slit

A woman, who was reportedly pregnant, was found dead with her throat slit in a Paris apartment on Friday while her partner was left in a critical condition. An electric sander was found running beside their bodies. READ  

Cannes Film Festival
Sophie Marceau: Queen of baring all at Cannes
Sophie Marceau is a member of the Feature Film jury this year at Cannes. Photo: AFP

Sophie Marceau: Queen of baring all at Cannes

French actress Sophie Marceau is surely the undisputed queen of the Cannes wardrobe malfunction after her plunging jacket gave photographers more than an eyeful once again this week. And it's not the first time she's given the paparazzi palpitations. READ  

Cameron to visit Paris to push for EU reform
UK PM David Cameron will hope to convince François Hollande that Britain should be allowed to renegotiate its relationship to the EU. Photo: AFP

Cameron to visit Paris to push for EU reform

UK Prime Minister David Cameron is to visit Paris next week as part of his charm offensive as he tries to persuade European leaders to allow Britain to renegotiate its ties with the EU, ahead of a planned In/Out referendum in the UK. READ  

Homes in northern France shaken by quake
The quake was felt across the Channel in the northern French departement of Pas-de-Calais. Photo: France's Central Bureau of Seismology (BCSF)

Homes in northern France shaken by quake

The tremors from a 4.4 magnitude earthquake were felt in northern France early on Friday morning, prompting several worried calls to the emergency services. READ  

France: 'World must act over threat to Palmyra'
The ancient city of Palmyra whose archaeological treasures are threatened by Isis. Photo: AFP

France: 'World must act over threat to Palmyra'

French President Francois Hollande on Thursday said the world must respond to Islamic State jihadists' seizure of Palmyra amid fears they could destroy the Syrian city's world renowned ancient monuments. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Features
Take a tour of the best Metro stations that Paris has to offer
National
Soon there'll be a fixed fare for a taxi ride from the airport into Paris
National
Drug dealers in Marseille are offering customers loyalty cards
Soon there'll be no minimum for using your bank card in France
Features
Eurovision is around the corner - and we don't fancy France's chances
Features
Fancy starting a business and living in Paris? There's help available
National
Are you fearing a Brexit? Maybe it's time to become a French citizen
How hard-up French are tempted by money to take migrants to the UK
Bupa
Sponsored Article
Healthcare: 9 questions every expat should ask
Education
More English words (including 'le selfie') sneak into French
Charlie Hebdo to give €4.3m to attack victims
National
French Protestants bless gay marriage
Opinion
Why elitism is dragging France down
Features
RECIPE: How to make your own picnic-perfect meringues
Business & Money
French tax declaration deadline: Key things to remember
VIDEO: Can YOU pronounce the trickiest word in French?
France tops holiday wish list for children
National
Study: Women do bulk of housework in France
National
VIDEO: Police use force on Calais migrants
National
This man is France's Instagram king. But who else makes the top list?
Features
Free museum entry, film festivals, sports... see What's On this in May
Culture
Behind the curtain: A closer look at the Cannes Film Festival
National
It's a boy! Baby born on Air France flight to Paris
Features
Love-locked: Whatever happened to Paris's beautiful bridges?
'Forget the UK election, expats should be able to vote in France'
Thomas Piketty backs Miliband for Britain but not Hollande for France
Gallery
The most spectacular sunset pictures from around France
National
France tells migrants in Calais to 'forget the UK and stay here'
Who's to blame? Trial after Frenchman dies downing 56 shots
Society
VIDEO: See what's beneath the surface of the French Riviera
National
French teen suicide after sex video web bullying
France launches bid to buy Europe's biggest and most spectacular dune
Business & Money
Why May 2015 is the best month in years to work in France
Five great outdoor bars in Paris to check out this summer
Double standards? French Muslim barred from class over long skirt
National
France goes on the defensive after UN experts say 'racism is trivialised'
Five reasons we should be worried about France's new snooping laws
International
The French don't seem to care about the UK election and that's normal
Culture
Only in France? Naked comedian stuns French culture minister
Migrant camps spring up in the heart of Paris
International
France bags another fighter jet deal but should Paris thank the US?
Society
French elevator protocol: Greeting, flirting and yes, even sex
Travel
Getting from CDG airport to Paris by road should now be a lot quicker
Politics
Why all the dodgy ties? A French view of the UK general election
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