And then there were 14. France is the latest country to legalize same-sex marriages. In fact, the land of berets is the third one in this month alone, after Uruguay and New Zealand. The French National Assembly approved marriage equality in a 331-225 vote. The decision also allows for same-sex couples to adopt children. The next step is for President Francois Hollande to sign the bill. He has already given his formal approval last November.
The decision follows months of division in the country, marked by violence and protests. One of the biggest protests against same-sex marriage drew together hundreds of thousands of people bused in from the French provinces. That demonstration took a violent turn as riot police clashed with protesters, firing tear gas into the crowd. Some individuals in masks and hoods, led the charge against police, damaging cars along the Champs-Elysees avenue and making a break for the presidential palace.
“Despite attempts to obstruct the right, the Senate has adopted Article 1 which allows same-sex couples to marry,” said François Rebsamen of the Socialist party. “Given the abuses that took place either by manifestations of violence in the street, either by verbal exaggerations in the chamber, the vote on this article marks a victory for the fight against homophobia, for tolerance and democracy.”
France’s Justice Minister, Christiane Taubira, said the first gay weddings could take place as early as June. “We believe that the first weddings will be beautiful and that they’ll bring a breeze of joy, and that those who are opposed to them today will surely be confounded when they are overcome with the happiness of the newlyweds and the families,” she adds.
Congratulations to our French brothers and sisters. Which country do you think is next to approve same-sex marriages? The tides are certainly turning. Sound off below.