• France's news in English

French parliament votes to legalize gay marriage

AFP/The Local · 23 Apr 2013, 18:56

Published: 23 Apr 2013 18:56 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

France's lower house National Assembly on Tuesday adopted a bill legalising same-sex marriages and adoptions for gay couples, defying months of opposition protests.

In its second and final reading, a majority of lawmakers approved the bill by a vote of 331 to 225.

"After 136 hours and 46 minutes of debate, Parliament has adopted the law opening marriage to same-sex couples," the Socialist speaker of the Assembly, Claude Bartolone, said after the vote.

Bartolone, who was sent gunpowder in a threatening letter earlier this week, became furious when minor scuffles broke out in the public gallery. Some opponents of the bill had to be forcefully ejected as the vote took place.

"Get these enemies of democracy out of the parliament," he shouted.

Justice Minister Christiane Taubira hailed the adoption of the bill as a "historic" moment in French history.

"It grants new rights, stands firmly against discrimination (and) testifies to our country's respect for the institution of marriage," she said in a statement shortly after the vote.

"This law... brightens the horizons of many of our citizens who were deprived of these rights," she said.

The bill must still be signed by President Francois Hollande and is to face a challenge in France's constitutional council.

Shortly after the vote, lawmakers from right-wing parties said they had already filed a legal challenge with the council.

It will have a month to make a ruling and opponents are hoping that in the meantime they can build up enough pressure to force Hollande, who has been steadfast in supporting the bill, to back down from signing it.

Tens of thousands have taken to the streets in recent months to oppose the bill, in demonstrations that have occasionally spilled over into violence.

Earlier France's Minister for Women's Rights Najat Vallaud-Belkacem told The Local that violence cannot be tolerated.

“The violence is unacceptable and I condemn it in the strongest terms,” said Vallaud-Belkacem.

“In recent weeks we have seen a radicalization of some opponents of the bill. However, I will not confuse the peaceful protesters with those more extreme opponents, who do not hesitate to resort to violence - whether it's aggression towards elected officials, death threats or homophobic insults,” the minister added.

Riot police surrounded the National Assembly on Tuesday evening as anti-gay marriage protesters were due to hold a march at 7pm.

Story continues below…

Meanwhile across town in the city's gay district the Marais, supporters gathered to celebrate the passing of the bill.

One of those who was "happy" to see gay marriage voted into law was Wilfred de Bruijn, who was the subject of a vicious homophobic attack two weeks ago.

"A law does not change society but I am happy," de Bruijn told The Local.

 If Hollande signs the law, France will join eight other European countries - the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, Iceland and Denmark - in legalising same-sex marriages.

New Zealand on April 17 became the first Asia-Pacific country to legalise same-sex marriages after a parliamentary vote overwhelmingly backed the move.

AFP/The Local (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Calais migrants given mixed reception in French towns
Photo: AFP

Some in France have shown solidarity with their new guests, while others have made it clear they are not welcome.

Lonely Planet says Bordeaux is world's best city to visit
The fantastic new Bordeaux wine museum. Photo: AFP

After The Local France, the Lonely Planet has followed suit by urging everyone to head to Bordeaux in 2017.

Jungle shacks set ablaze and torn down as camp razed
All photos: AFP

IN PICTURES: The razing of the Jungle has finally begun.

Frenchwoman finds WW1 grenade among her spuds
Photo: AFP

It could have been a very explosive family dinner.

Refugee crisis
What rights to a future in France for Calais migrants?
Photo: AFP

What does the future hold for the migrants of the Jungle? Can they work or claim social benefits or travel freely inside Europe?

Pampers nappies 'contain carcinogenics': French study
Photo: Robert Valencia/Flick

The substances in the nappies are meant to prevent skin irritation but are cancerous, the study concludes.

France to scrap special prison wings for dangerous jihadists
Photo: AFP

The experiment has been ditched.

Myth busting: Half of French adults are now overweight
A model at the Pulp Fiction fashion show in Paris that represents society's diverse spectrum . Photo: AFP

Hold on, aren't the French all meant to be finely toned specimens with not an ounce of fat on them?

France poised to send bulldozers into Calais Jungle
Photo: AFP

As hundreds of migrants leave, the bulldozers are set to tear down the sprawling Calais shanty town on Tuesday.

UK to spend €40 million on securing Calais border
Photo: AFP

Britain spending big on security in Calais.

The annoying questions only a half French, half Brit can answer
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Forget Brangelina's chateau - here are nine others you've got to see
The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
jobs available