France has become the 14th country to legalise same-sex marriage , pushing through François Hollande‘s flagship social change after months of street protests, political slanging matches and a rise in homophobic attacks.
331 votes for and 225 votes against, there were chants of “Equality.
Equality.” in the French assembly, where the Socialists have an absolute
majority. But thousands of riot police and water cannons were in place
near the parliament building in Paris in advance of planned
demonstrations against the law.
The right to marriage and adoption for everyone regardless of sexual orientation has proved bitterly divisive in France, triggering the biggest conservative and rightwing street protests in 30 years.
Recent weeks have seen more than 200 arrests as police teargassed
late-night demonstrators near parliament. More than 172 hours of heated
debate in the assembly and the senate meant the bill was one of the most
debated in recent history, with furious clashes and a near fist-fight between politicians.
rightwing MP warned the government was “killing children” by allowing
same-sex married couples to adopt and one senator warned gay marriage
would open the way to people being able to marry animals or objects.
MPs in favour of the bill received death threats, skinheads attacked a
gay bar in Lille, and gay rights groups reported a rise in homophobic attacks.
the vote, the speaker of the assembly ordered the expulsion of noisy
protesters from the public gallery, calling them “enemies of democracy”.
The vote makes France the ninth country in Europe to legalise same-sex marriage and the first ceremonies could take place this summer.
The spirit of Pierre Laval is abroad in the land but vive le France anyway. I’ll let Cole Porter via Ella Fitzgerald have the last word: