Gay and lesbian couples in France might
be able to marry before the end of May after President Francois
Hollande signed a gay marriage bill into law on Saturday.
Hollande acted a day after the
Constitutional Council threw out a legal challenge by conservative
“The law allowing same-sex marriage
conforms with the constitution,” the council said in a statement
In brief remarks after the legislation
cleared its final hurdle, Hollande reaffirmed the importance of
respecting France's laws.
“The law opens up new rights without
sacrificing the rights of others. I think that over the next few
months it will be accepted as a law promoting reconciliation and
progress,” he said, adding that it was “now time to respect the
law and the Republic.”
The legislation is expected to take
effect in 10 days. But several lawmakers have said that the first
ceremonies would take place in June.
Frigide Barjot, the actress-activists
who led the opposition, refused to accept the outcome.
“An ordinary law can't change
something that fundamental,” she said. “The French public must
Opponents have staged large
demonstrations throughout the debate and show no signs of stopping.
A demonstration in Paris is planned for Sunday, May 26, two days
before the law is now set to take effect.
Their boisterous demands for the
government to abandon its plans have been blamed for a spike in
homophobic acts, both physical and verbal.
With Hollande's signature, France
becomes the 14th nation to allow gay and lesbian couples
to marry, following the recent additions of Uruguay
Zealand, and the 9th in Europe. Additionally, some
states in Mexico and the United States have adopted similar laws. A
recent court ruling has effectively legalized such unions in Brazil.