‘Vive la France!’ as campaigners celebrate equal marriage victory

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

Campaigners are celebrating the news that France has become the 14th nation in the world to legalise marriage rights for same-sex couples and Justice Minister Christiane Taubira says the first weddings could be held as soon as June.

France’s National Assembly in Paris passed the country’s equal marriage bill on Tuesday afternoon. MPs voted 331 in favour – 225 against – with 10 abstentions.

The legislation, which also provides adoption rights for same-sex couples, is expected to be approved by the Constitutional Council and signed into law by President Francois Hollande, who made it a manifesto pledge.

The result was greeted by wild cheering from supporters and boos by some opponents gathered outside the National Assembly.

“I hope people across the country will celebrate this moment,” said equal marriage campaigner Martin Gaillard.

“It is a generous text that you’ve voted for today,” Justice Minister Christiane Taubira told legislators on Tuesday evening, calling the law a “very beautiful reform.”

Evelyne Paradis, executive director of ILGA-Europe, said: “We congratulate the French parliamentarians and the French nation for this historic step. The country whose motto is ‘Liberté, égalité, fraternité’ has finally fully applied it to all citizens when it comes to marriage.

“We also hope that this latest development in France will inspire other European countries to take concrete steps to eliminate discrimination and to ensure equal rights to same-sex partners and their families.

“Equality cannot be partial, if a country is serious about equality for same-sex partners and their families, it means removing all legal obstacles and differences, it means equal access to marriage and adoption entitlement.”

Scotland’s Equality Network tweeted: “Hoping to see the Scottish equal marriage bill in our Parliament by end of June. Let’s ensure it passes, in the spirit of the Auld Alliance!”

Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell tweeted: “France agreed same-sex marriage today. It’s the third country in 3 weeks, after Uruguay & New Zealand. An unstoppable global trend. Bravo!

Earlier this month, both Uruguay and New Zealand passed marriage equality bills.