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Popular Topics in The Arts
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Topics In the News
French President Signs Marriage Equality Legislation after Constitutional Council Clears It
Posted by: Claude J. Summers on 05/17/13
Last updated on: 05/18/13
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On May 17, 2013, France's Constitutional Council rejected an appeal from opponents of same-sex marriage and declared constitutional the marriage equality legislation recently passed by lop-sided margins in the Senate and the National Assembly. On May 18, 2012, President Hollande signed the bill into law. Marriages will begin in ten days.

As reported by The Local, "The final hurdle preventing the gay marriage bill from becoming law was overcome on Friday when the legislation was passed by France's Constitutional Council, after it turned down a challenge by the opposition."

On April 23, the National Assembly voted handily in favor of the legislation. However, it was immediately appealed by the opposition to the Council, which has the right to nullify legislation that is unconstitutional.

In response to the appeal, on May 17, "Les Sages," as the Council members are known, declared that same-sex marriage does "not run contrary to any constitutional principles," and that it does not infringe "basic rights or liberties or national sovereignty."

The council also ruled that adoption by same-sex couples did not mean that anyone had a "right to a child" and that the "interest of the child" would be the overriding factor in all cases of adoption.

Immediately after the Council's decision was announced, President Hollande said that he was eager to sign the bill. He did so on May 18.

In signing the bill into law, President Hollande reaffirmed his support for marriage equality. "I will ensure that the law applies across the whole territory, in full," he said, adding, "and I will not accept any disruption of these marriages." The latter phrase is no doubt a reference to the anti-gay violence that has escalated in the wake on the marriage equality debate.

The first same-sex weddings can be held by the end of the month.

France will become the 15th country to legalize same-sex marriage, joining eight other European nations--the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, Iceland, and Denmark-- and South Africa, Canada, Argentina, New Zealand, Uruguay, and Brazil. In addition, same-sex marriage is legal in portions of Mexico and the United States.

French opponents of same-sex marriage have pledged to continue to protest the new law with mass demonstrations.

Nevertheless, Justice Minister Christiane Taubira hailed the adoption of the bill as a "historic" moment in French history.

"It grants new rights, stands firmly against discrimination (and) testifies to our country's respect for the institution of marriage," she said in a statement shortly after the April 23 vote in the National Assembly.

The video below reports on President Hollande's signing the bill into law.

The news video below reports on the legislative victory and the homophobia that surfaced during the struggle for equality.

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