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Congratulations to Vincent Autin and Bruno Boileau, who on May 29, 2013 became France's first legally wed same-sex couple when they exchanged vows in a nationally televised ceremony conducted by the Mayor of Montpellier, Helene Mandroux.
As Thomas Adamson and Catherine Gaschka report in Huffington Post, the wedding was attended by hundreds of invited guests, including a government minister. Hundreds more flocked to the city square to observe history in the making.
The ceremony was held under tight police surveillance. The wedding itself was not interrupted, but one protester was arrested when he shouted threats and attempted to approach the couple as they were escorted into City Hall before the ceremony. A small group of demonstrators that had gathered behind City Hall was dispersed by tear gas.
"Even if we have passed the hurdle of equality, there are still more battles to fight," Autin, who is head of the regional glbtq rights group, observed, before declaring, "But for now, it's a moment for festivity, for love."
Prominent in the chamber in which the wedding took place was a photograph of President Hollande, who championed marriage equality in his campaign and who delivered on his promise despite increasingly violent opposition from right-wingers.
Although a majority of French voters support same-sex marriage, the right-wing has made opposition to marriage equality a talisman of conservative opposition to President Hollande and his socialist government. As a consequence there have been large and violent demonstrations against the marriage equality bill, which has also exposed an urban-rural divide on the issue.
Following the ceremony, the newlyweds, alongside Mayor Mandroux, waved to well-wishers from the City Hall balcony. Smiling proudly, Mandroux called the marriage a "historic moment" and "a stage in the modernization of our country."
Declaring themselves to be "very pleased and honored" to be first legally wed same-sex couple in France, the couple announced that they will be known as Messieurs Bruno et Vincent Boileau-Autin.
After the public ceremony the couple hosted a private celebration for close friends and family.
In the video below, Mayor Mandroux officiates at the wedding of Vincent Autin and Bruno Boileau.