France Stares Down Its Conservative Catholics and Legalizes Gay Marriage

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Following a six-month campaign that revived the country's conservative movement — and inspired hundreds of colorful and often revealing counter-protests — France became the 14th country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage on Tuesday, following a vote in the French parliament's lower house. The decision came nearly a year after the French elected President François Hollande, who campaigned on extending marriage rights to gay couples, in May. Members of Hollande's administration introduced the bill passed today in October, and ever since the Catholic-majority country has seen widespread protest from conservative and Catholic groups. According to the Irish Times, much of the opposition movement focused on an section of the bill that concerned adoption rights:

Conservatives have been particularly angered by the provision legalising adoption by homosexual couples. Opponents say it threatens the traditional family and will make it impossible to establish filiation. The conservative deputy Philippe Cochet shouted at socialists in the National Assembly: "What you are doing is a wound that will not heal if the law is passed. It’s ignominious. You are murdering children!"

Today's passage was seen as largely inevitable, given the Socialist Party's majority in the French parliament. Still, opposition to the bill was widespread and impossible to ignore. In late March, hundreds of thousands of protestors occupied Avenue des Champs-Élysées, a wide street in northwest Paris, leading to several well-publicized scuffles with French police. And they don't seem to be discouraged by Tuesday's news. Opposition leaders say they plan to try and strike down the bill by appealing to the highest court in France, the Constitutional Council.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.