France: Final marriage equality hurdle passed as Constitutional Council approves bill

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

France has overcome the final obstacle in efforts to make it the 14th country in the world to legalise same-sex marriage, following a decision by the Constitutional Council.

Marriage equality opponents had hoped that challenging the bill before the Constitutional Council would scupper the bill after months of debate and protest.

However, Reuters reports that today the Council declared: “The law allowing same-sex marriage conforms with the constitution.”

The Council did also note that adoption rights would not be automatic for same-sex parents, and would be assessed by the “interest of the child”.

President Francois Hollande now has the go-ahead to sign the bill into law, and has pledged to do so as soon as possible. The first marriages between same-sex couples could take place within weeks.

Late last month, the ruling Socialist party and their allies in the lower house of the National Assembly passed the bill 331 in favour – 225 against, giving same-sex couples the legal right to marry and adopt children.

After the vote, several politicians, including an openly-gay mayor, received bullets, and death threats in the post.

The Speaker of the National Assembly, Claude Bartolone, also received a threatening letter containing ammunition powder, asking him to delay the vote on equal marriage.

Socialist deputies Sylviane Bulteau and Hugues Fourage also received letters from anti-equal marriage extremists, which threatened their families with kidnap, the equal marriage bill was not withdrawn.

Following the vote, riot police charged several times to attempt to clear protesters from Les Invalides, however they were forced to move down to the banks of the river Seine, where more violent clashes took place.

President Hollande urged the country to move on after the divisive debate around equal marriage.