LE PARISIEN, LE MONDE, LIBERATION, FIGARO, EUROPE 1 (France)
PARIS – The French National Assembly legalized gay marriage on Tuesday, after months of tumultuous debate both in Parliament and on the streets.
The law was passed with 331 votes in favor, and 225 opposed.
“It is a historic vote,” wrote Le Parisien newspaper, as France becomes the ninth country in Europe and the 14th worldwide to legislate in favor of same-sex marriage.
The vote legalizes gay marriage as well as adoption by same-sex couples, reports Le Monde. The legal code will be amended to replace the words “husband” and “wife” by “spouse,” but the words “father” and “mother” will not be changed.
The anti-gay marriage protest movement took a violent turn in recent weeks, with several incidents of thugs assaulting patrons of gay bars and same-sex couples holding hands. Meanwhile right-wing extremist movements and ultra-conservative Catholic groups have radicalized the debate, alongside daily non-violent marches by opponents of the bill.
According to Le Figaro, about 1,000 police officers, including 700 to 800 anti-riot police in full gear were positioned in front of and around the National Assembly in Paris, ahead of the vote on Tuesday. Water cannons have also been deployed.
Legislators had reported receiving threatening letters in the weeks leading to the vote.
The opposition has said it would challenge the measure with the Constitutional Council, reports Libération, but there is little chance of the law being overturned on constitutional grounds. In a January ruling, the Council had stated: “Concretely, the Constitution is not an obstacle, which means that if one day Parliament adopts a law authorizing gay-marriage, there will be no constitutional problem.”
President François Hollande is expected to sign the bill into law in the coming weeks, and France could be uncorking Champagne for the first gay marriages as soon as June.
According to Europe 1, the 14 countries where gay marriage is legal are:
The Netherlands (2001)
South Africa (2006)
New Zealand (2013)
In the U.S., nine out of 50 states have voted in favor of gay-marriage. In Mexico, it is legal in Mexico City only.