French President Francois Hollande signs gay marriage bill into law.
Marriage Equality Is Now Law in France
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May 18 2013 12:57 PM

France Becomes 14th Country To Turn Marriage Equality Into Law

Two men hold a French national flag and a rainbow flag as they gather for a demonstration in Paris earlier this year


After lots of controversy, marriage equality is finally the law of the land in France. French President Francois Hollande signed a bill legalizing not only marriage between members of the same sex, but also adoption by gay and lesbian couples. Marriage equality became law after the Constitutional Council shot down a challenge by the right-wing opposition, ruling on Friday the measure does not “run contrary to any constitutional principles” and would not violate “basic rights or liberties or national sovereignty,” reports the BBC. The first wedding could take place before the end of the month.

Hollande has turned marriage equality into a rallying cry for his administration, but the right to marry and adopt for all sexual orientations “has triggered the biggest conservative and rightwing street protests in 30 years, with more than 200 arrests,” points out the Guardian. Another protest has been called for May 26, two days before the first same-sex couples could walk down the aisle. The protest “could easily be another monster-manif, like the ones earlier this year,” writes the BBC’s Hugh Schofield. “This is because opposition to gay marriage has become conflated with all sorts of other anti-government grievances coming from the right. And the atmosphere in the country is particularly volatile.”

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.

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