President Signs Equality Law
(Paris) – The first same-sex wedding in France, planned for May 29, 2013, will be the country’s start of an era of full marriage equality, Human Rights Watch said today.
Vincent Autin and Bruno Boileau plan to wed in Montpellier. They are the first same sex couple to announce their marriage plans under the new law.
“The wedding of Vincent and Bruno will be the start of a new era in France, with full marriage equality achieved at last,” said Boris Dittrich, advocacy director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Rights Program at Human Rights Watch. “Their wedding is an inspiration to all those around the world who want to achieve equal rights and to end discrimination based on sexual orientation.”
President François Hollande signed the law on May 18 for marriage equality and adoption for same-sex couples after the Constitutional Council approved it as in line with the French constitution. The French National Assembly approved the final version on April 23.
France is the ninth country in Europe to legalize marriage equality. The others are the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Iceland.
Five other countries outside Europe have legalized same-sex marriage by law: Canada, South Africa, Argentina, New Zealand, and Uruguay. In parts of Mexico, same-sex marriage is also legalized.
In Brazil, the National Council of Justice, which oversees the Brazilian judicial system and is headed by the chief justice of the Supreme Court, declared on May 14 that public notaries cannot refuse marriage licenses to gay couples.
In the United States, Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont, Washington, the District of Columbia, and Minnesotaallow same-sex couples to marry. In June, the Supreme Court is expected to issue decisions in two cases related to marriage equality,in which arguments were heard on March 26 and 27. Hollingsworth v. Perry challenges California’s Proposition 8, which bans same-sex marriage. United States v. Windsor concerns the denial of more than 1,000 types of federal benefits and programs to same-sex married couples under the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman.