By Alexandra Sandacz
Impunity Watch Reporter, Europe
PARIS, France – Last week, the National Assembly of France approved the same-sex marriage bill by a vote of 331-225. This bill, which also allows couples adoption rights, made France the 14th nation in the world and ninth in Europe to pass such a law.
The French Parliament passed the “Marriage for All” bill, which affords homosexual couples identical rights to marriage and adoption that were previously limited to heterosexual unions.
Christiane Taubira, Socialist Justice Minister and author of the bill, stated, “It’s a generous law, and a law of equality. We believe 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.”
However, opponents to same-sex marriage blamed the legislation for distorting “time-honored definitions of marriage and endangering children by permitting gay and lesbian couples to adopt”.
Many high-profile groups promised to continue legal challenges to block the law’s application.
Frigide Barjot, a comedian who uses her stage name, told her supporters, “We are going to show them that this is not over. I solemnly ask the president to hold a referendum on the subject.”
Claire Baron, a mother of two, stated she “will oppose the bill until the end.” She continued, “I’ll keep going to the protests, I don’t give in. The bill is not effective yet, the president of the Republic must listen to our voices. We are here to defend family values. Children need a mom and a dad.”
Just hours before votes were casted, thousands of police gathered outside the National Assembly building to prepare for the protestors on the streets who started forming days leading up to the vote. In addition, thousands of police who were armed with water cannon were organized near parliament to deal with any repeat of the violence seen in previous demonstrations.
Inside the National Assembly chamber, two opponents tried to hold up a protesting banner, however, they were shortly ejected.
Socialist President, Francois Hollande, made this same-sex bill his top social reform goal. He is expected to sign the bill once it clears constitutional challenges. Although opponents of the measure will try to argue that marriage is a constitutional matter, the council is unlikely to block the new law.
For further information, please see:
BBC News – Same-Sex Marriage: French Parliament Approves New Law – 23 April 2013
The Huffington Post – France Legalizes Gay Marriage After Harsh Debate, Violent Protests – 23 April 2013
International Business Times – France Legalizes Gay Marriage, Becomes 14th Nation to Do So – 23 April 2013
Time World – France Legalizes Gay Marriage Despite Vocal and Angry Opposition – 23 April 2013