France Legalizes Gay Marriage

Making good on a promise he made when he first ran for president of France a year ago, President Francois Hollande signed into law a bill that will allow same-sex couples to not only marry but also adopt children. His decision came about after months of tumultuous, and sometimes violent, protests led by the country’s right-wingers and Roman Catholic leaders.

The new law was officially added to the statute books of France after the country’s Constitutional Council rejected challenges from a conservative opposition party on Friday. In its ruling, the Council stated that it approved the law “in the name of the principle of equality, to allow homosexual couples to marry and benefit from the legal status linked to marriage” and to guarantee same-sex couples “the same protection in the event of divorce.” The latest addition to France’s civil code simply reads: Marriage is a contract between two people of different sex or the same sex.

President Hollande said after passing the law,

I want the law to apply throughout the land, in full, and I will not accept any disruption of these marriages.

France is the 14th country to legalize gay marriage. In the U.S., 12 states and Washington, D.C., have legalized same-sex marriage.

The new French law is being touted as the most notable social reform in the country since the 1981 banning of the death penalty. The first same-sex marriages in France are expected to take place by the end of May.

Photo courtesy of RoguePlanet via Creative Commons 2.0.


Associate editor of Ms. magazine