There seems to be a progressive French Revolution happening on the streets of France since President Francois Hollande took office last year. On the first day of this month, a law came into effect which offers free birth control to French teens 15-18, and 100% medical coverage for abortions. This week, a bill was passed in the French Parliament that legalizes marriage equality in France with a 321 to 225 vote. It is expected to be quickly signed by the President Hollande.
Huffington Post reports Justice Minister Christiane Taubira told lawmakers that the first weddings could be as soon as June:
“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,” she said.
One celebrating woman said:
“I feel immense joy, gigantic joy,” said 39-year old Sylvain Rouzel. “At last, everyone has the same rights. This is huge! France was lagging behind. We had to wait 14 years after the civil union to finally obtain the right to get married, with equal rights for everyone. I feel great!”
But the celebration is not without protest. Others like, Claire Baron, 41, a mother of two, said that she “will oppose the bill until the end.”
“I’ll keep going to the protests, I don’t give in. The bill is not effective yet, the president of the Republic must listen to our voices. We are here to defend family values. Children need a mom and a dad,” Baron said.
Al Jazeera’s video from January gives an idea of the celebratory support this bill has received. Here’s the video:
Along with France, 14 countries around the world have legalized equal/gay marriage:
— New Zealand (in 2013)
— Uruguay (2013)
— Denmark (2012)
— Argentina (2010)
— Portugal (2010)
— Iceland (2010)
— Sweden (2009)
— Norway (2009)
— South Africa (2006)
— Spain (2005)
— Canada (2005)
— Belgium (2003)
— The Netherlands (2000)
In the U.S., Brazil and Mexico, same-sex marriage has been legalized only in some jurisdictions.
There are still more hurdles to go. For now, I choose to join friends who celebrate with France, and support all those fighting for equal marriage rights around the world. Très bien France!