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France lgbt Homophobia Marriage gay marriage gay rights France

Gay marriage brought equality to France while giving rise to homophobia

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“Despite the existence of this law, LGBTQIA+ populations are still victims of a certain amount of terrible discrimination today,” says Vincent Autin, a rights activist, whose wedding was the very first one to be held after the same-sex marriage law took effect.The National Assembly voted to legalise gay marriage on 23 April, 2013.

A month later the law came into effect, and on 29 May 2013, Autin and Vincent Boileau got married in Montpellier.Some 400 people, including 200 journalists, attended the wedding at city hall, presided by the mayor at the time, Hélène Mandroux.“It was a symbol for journalists and for a certain number of citizens,” Autin said of his wedding. “Inaugurating a law of social progress is not something you do everyday.”More from Autin on being the first to get married, and a decade of gay marriage, in the Spotlight on France podcast:The passage of the law was not a given.

Then Socialist president François Holland had campaigned on the promise of opening marriage and adoption to all couples. His justice minister, Christiane Taubira, introduced the Mariage Pour Tous (Marriage For All) legislation in late 2012.The issue divided the country.

While lawmakers held 136.5 hours of often heated debates over several months, hundreds of thousands of people held protest marches against it.The Mainf Pour Tous (Demonstration For All) organisers, who unified opponents behind blue and pink logos with images of children, said they were not against same-sex marriage itself but against same-sex couples getting parental rights.The protests and the debates in parliament brought out a level of homophobia that people previously kept to themselves.

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