French president signs gay marriage law

2013-05-18 22:33
A woman takes part in a protest against a government plan to legalise gay marriage and adoption in France. (File, AP)

A woman takes part in a protest against a government plan to legalise gay marriage and adoption in France. (File, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

Paris - France on Saturday became the 14th country to legalise same-sex marriage after President Francois Hollande signed the measure into law following months of bitter debate and demonstrations.

Hollande acted a day after the Constitutional Council threw out a legal challenge by the right-wing opposition, removing the last obstacle to passing the bill into law. The legislation also legalises gay adoption.

But while gay rights groups hailed the move, opponents of the measures have vowed to fight on.

Hollande made "marriage for all" a central plank of his presidential election campaign last year.

On Friday, he tried to turn the page on months of bitter opposition to the measures, arguing it was "time to respect the law and the Republic".

And he warned that he would not tolerate any resistance.

"I will ensure that the law applies across the whole territory, in full, and I will not accept any disruption of these marriages," said the Socialist president.

Meanwhile, the Socialist mayor of the southern city of Montpellier - known to homosexuals as the French San Francisco - will officiate the municipality's first gay marriage on May 29, her office said on Saturday.

The nuptials in Montpellier are expected to be the country's first legal gay marriage.

Everybody

Marriages in France must be civil ceremonies performed in town halls, most of which take several weeks to process applications. Couples can then hold a religious ceremony.

"We have published with my partner our [marriage] bans this morning and we can now think about the preparations" for the Montpellier wedding, said gay activist Vincent Autin, 40, who is going to marry his 30-year-old partner Bruno after seven years as a couple.

"I am overwhelmed with immense happiness. We are inviting all the French people to attend the wedding," Autin added, explaining that the city had agreed to put up a giant screen if a huge crowd turns out for the event.

The gay marriage and adoption law, however, has come into force after months of acrimonious debate and massive opposition protests, which occasionally spilled over into violence.

Although the Constitutional Council approved the bill on Friday, the International Day Against Homophobia, opponents, who maintain marriage is only between a man and a woman, have vowed not to give up.

They have called a major protest rally for May 26 in Paris. Previous demonstrations have drawn hundreds of thousands of people marching through the streets of the French capital.

In April, the main right-wing opposition UMP party of former president Nicolas Sarkozy challenged the measures on constitutional grounds immediately after deputies passed the bill in parliament.

But Friday's statement by the Constitutional Council said same-sex marriage "did not run contrary to any constitutional principles", and that it did not infringe on "basic rights or liberties or national sovereignty".

Respect

Reacting to the ruling Friday, UMP party chief Jean-Francois Cope told TF1 television: "It is a decision that I regret, but that I respect."

However, an anti-gay marriage figure known as Frigide Barjot - a play on the name of film star Brigitte Bardot and translates as Frigid Loony- called the new law "a change in civilisation".

Late Friday, between 200 and 300 protesters gathered in central Paris to denounce the ruling backing the bill and called on Hollande to resign. One police officer was injured after a flammable liquid was thrown in his face.

For gay rights groups the French law legalising same-sex marriage is a watershed.

"Now it's celebration time," said spokesman Nicolas Gougain of the LGBT association representing the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities.

But gay rights watchdog SOS Homophobie added: "Our country has taken a great step forward today although it's regrettable that it was taken in a climate of bad faith and homophobic violence."

The issue of gay marriage has divided France, which is officially secular but overwhelmingly Catholic.

Last year, the proposals seemed to enjoy solid majority backing among French voters.

But as the opposition campaign got into gear, more recent polls indicated a shift of opinion to the extent that the electorate is now fairly evenly split on both gay marriage and adoption.

Among the countries that have already approved same-sex marriage are eight other European nations - Belgium, Denmark, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain and Sweden.

Read more on:    francois hollande  |  france  |  gay rights
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
58 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Up to 40% off fashion accessories

Save up to 40% on selected handbags, purses, watches, jewellery and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R2000 on top electronics

Get every day mind bowing savings on top electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

As seen on TV - New book releases at only R199 each

Get mind blowing book savings on new titles. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to 50% on Women’s month treats!

Celebrate the awesome women in your life with awesome treats like beauty products, fashion accessories, bestselling books, electronics and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 60% off - clearance sale!

Save up to 60% on appliances, books, electronics, toys, movies and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You are in a curious mood and you want to be the first to know what is happening. You may find yourself drawn into cyber chatting...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.