France’s anti-gay opposition has vowed to fight on despite the passage of same-sex marriage, and the police forces are ready for there to be violence over the passage of the law as well. Anti-gay groups have already filed a challenge in the Constitutional Council, though their case may be fruitless given the Déclaration des droits de l’homme et du citoyen.
In English, the Declaration of the Rights of Men and Citizens is a French Revolution-era document that has Constitutional standing in France and may make it difficult to overturn the law as it stands.
The bill to legalize same-sex marriage passed the Socialist-majority Assembly by a vote of 331 to 225. The vote occurred shortly after a protester was expelled from the chamber.
Claude Bartelone, the Assembly president, stated “Only those who love democracy are here.”
Violence has been escalating across France as the anti-gay opposition tries to derail the passage of the law.
The first marriages between same-sex couples will begin around June. Justice Minister Christiane Taubira stated “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.”
Frigide Barjot and the anti-gay groups have been calling for the vote to not happen and it be put to a popular vote so that they can engage in the same kind of intimidation and smear campaign that was used to pass Proposition 8 in California.
Barjot claims that “The violence comes from the way which this was imposed.” Of course, they believe that they can intimidate people into not voting for equality.
France already has civil unions, and has since 1999 for all citizens, but there are no rights for same-sex couples to adopt. Adoption rights are just slightly unpopular with French citizens while same-sex marriage enjoys popular support.
France is now the 14th nation to legalize same-sex marriage.
President Francois Hollande must now sign the law. Minister Taubira stated that “It grants new rights, stands firmly against discrimination [and] testifies to our country’s respect for the institution of marriage. This law … brightens the horizons of many of our citizens who were deprived of these rights.”