By Romain Galiby, Institute for Cultural Diplomacy. On Tuesday, April 23, 2013, France followed 13 other countries including Canada, Denmark, Sweden and most recently Uruguay and New Zealand in letting gay and lesbian couples tie the knot. In the United States, Washington D.C. and nine states have already legalized same-sex marriage.
The bill, which also legalizes adoption by same-sex couples, was passed by a majority of 321 to 255 votes in the French parliament. François Hollande’s “marriage for all” law is the biggest social reform in France since his left-wing mentor and predecessor, Francois Mitterrand. abolished the death penalty in 1981 – a move which also split the nation.
“Many French people will be proud this job is done,” Justice Minister Christiane Taubira told parliament. “Those protesting today will find themselves moved by the joy of the newly-weds.”
The decision follows a divisive public debate with some of the biggest protests seen in France in recent years.The leader of the “anti” movement, “Frigide Barjot”, has said that the protests will continue, and the conservatives have vowed to appeal to the Constitutional Council to have the law struck down.
One of the most famous opponents, Henri Guaino, who strongly fought against “same -sex marriage” during the last 6 months, voted in favor of the new legislation. Others UMP congressman who joined include: Alain Christian, Marianne Dubois and Luc Chatel.