Despite some violent and loud opposition, Tuesday French parliament approved the so-called “marriage for all bill” 331-225. Once the bill is signed by François Hollande, France will become the 14th country to allow gay marriage. Justice Minister Christiane Taubira said the first weddings could be as soon as June.
France has allowed civil unions since 1999, but the law doesn’t allow for adoptions. The newly-approved gay marriage law will. Much of the opposition to this bill was on the country allowing gay couples to adopt.
A huge crowd gathered outside France’s National Assembly Tuesday, both opposed to and in favor of the bill. Around 4,000 police officers and water cannon were on hand throughout the day to keep the crowd in check.
When President François Hollande first promised to legalize gay marriage, it was seen as relatively uncontroversial. However, the country’s conservative movement rallied against the bill, despite a recent poll showing 63% of the French people support gay marriage.
On Monday, one member of the French parliament, Claude Bartolone, received a letter filled with gun powder and a warning. It told him to delay the vote on the gay marriage bill:
“Citizen Bartolone, with this letter we formally ask you to delay the vote on same-sex marriage. Our methods are more radical and direct than demonstrations. You wanted war, you’ve got it.”
However, despite threats, Tuesday’s bill passed without any major incidents reported so far. There was some fighting in the National Assembly as parliament prepared to vote.