French same-sex marriage laws legally signed in
France’s president, François Hollande, has signed a law allowing same-sex couples to marry and adopt children. This move has been surrounded by controversy as right-wing groups have organised the biggest street protests in 30 years to protest against the marriage for all rule.
France is now the ninth European country to legalise same-sex marriage and the 14th worldwide.
The new law has been praised by gay advocates and campaigners as a step forward for France. It is with regret, however, that the celebration is shrouded by political arguments and a rise in homophobic attacks.
This legislation has been used as a main policy of social reform by president Hollande’s Socialist Party.
In French law, an application for marriage must be filed a minimum of 10 days before the ceremony can take place, meaning that the first same-sex weddings could start taking place from May 29th. The mayor of southern-French city Montpellier, Hélène Mandroux, intends to preside over the first wedding and stated that “love has won over hate”.
Ms Mandroux, also a Socialist Party member, has voiced her concerns that the first same-sex wedding could attract violent protests alongside a mass of publicity. The protests against the law have already amounted to over 200 arrests and more protests are planned for May 26th.
President Hollande has warned that he will not tolerate resistance. The government’s spokeswoman and minister for the rights of women, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, also intends to attend the first gay wedding which will undoubtedly go down in French history.
French opinion polls have shown that the majority of the public supports the legislation. However, the issue of same-sex adoption has proved more controversial with only 50% of the public agreeing with it.
While the new law in France allows gay people to adopt, it does not provide assistance such as IVF to lesbian couples and rights for same-sex parents are still uncertain.