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France: First gay marriage makes history01:32

France: First gay marriage makes history

France, Montpellier
May 29, 2013 at 17:36 GMT +00:00 · Published

France: First gay wedding ties the knot for France's new marriage bill

Two Frenchmen made history Wednesday in the southern city of Montpellier, after marrying in France's first gay wedding. Vincent Autin, 40, and Bruno Boileau, 30, saw more than 600 guests including a government minister and the world's media at their wedding. Just three days before the ceremony, 150,000 protesters of the law allowing same-sex marriage staged a final demonstration in Paris, leading to 293 arrests.

Helene Mandroux, the mayor of Montpellier, performed the ceremony, a long-time supporter of the reform which was adopted on May 18. Though not everybody approved of the vows the couple took, and extra police officers were drafted in to control any opposition that may have been in attendance. All outside celebrations were banned by the mayor performing the ceremony for fear of a violent turn.

The law, also legalising gay adoption, sharply divided French public opinion and sparked a number of homphobic attacks. A far-right essayist shot himself on the altar of Notre Dame cathedral May 21 after leaving a blogpost in which he denounced gay marriage.

One audience member commented on the occasion, "Well its obvious this has not helped France's image, I doubt it! We have been conservative but this is a step forward and it's beautiful. We are not ahead of some countries, but there are some countries that are late compare to us. One must admit that all this has been taken over by politics, which is very unhealthy. We have a political climate in France which is very unhealthy."

After lawmakers passed the bill in late April, opponents tried to disable it with an appeal to the Constitutional Council. The council later decided that objections had no ground.

France: First gay marriage makes history01:32
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France: First gay wedding ties the knot for France's new marriage bill

Two Frenchmen made history Wednesday in the southern city of Montpellier, after marrying in France's first gay wedding. Vincent Autin, 40, and Bruno Boileau, 30, saw more than 600 guests including a government minister and the world's media at their wedding. Just three days before the ceremony, 150,000 protesters of the law allowing same-sex marriage staged a final demonstration in Paris, leading to 293 arrests.

Helene Mandroux, the mayor of Montpellier, performed the ceremony, a long-time supporter of the reform which was adopted on May 18. Though not everybody approved of the vows the couple took, and extra police officers were drafted in to control any opposition that may have been in attendance. All outside celebrations were banned by the mayor performing the ceremony for fear of a violent turn.

The law, also legalising gay adoption, sharply divided French public opinion and sparked a number of homphobic attacks. A far-right essayist shot himself on the altar of Notre Dame cathedral May 21 after leaving a blogpost in which he denounced gay marriage.

One audience member commented on the occasion, "Well its obvious this has not helped France's image, I doubt it! We have been conservative but this is a step forward and it's beautiful. We are not ahead of some countries, but there are some countries that are late compare to us. One must admit that all this has been taken over by politics, which is very unhealthy. We have a political climate in France which is very unhealthy."

After lawmakers passed the bill in late April, opponents tried to disable it with an appeal to the Constitutional Council. The council later decided that objections had no ground.

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