Gay Marriage In France: First Male Couple Wed

29 May


France’s first gay couple to marry say “I do” in front of hundreds of guests as protesters fail to ruin their big day.

7:11pm UK, Wednesday 29 May 2013
Vincent Autin and Bruno Boileau kiss during their marriage

Two gay men have married in the south of France, becoming the first same-sex couple to wed in the country since a controversial change in the law just 10 days ago.

Vincent Aubin and Bruno Boileau exchanged vows in Montpellier city hall before the mayor, relatives, friends and media as police stood guard outside to ensure the ceremony was not disrupted.

“It’s a great pleasure for me to declare you married by law,” said Montpellier’s left-wing Mayor Helene Mandroux, as the couple embraced to a huge cheer from an audience of about 500.

Vincent Aubin and Bruno Boileau arrive for their wedding ceremony
Vincent and Bruno arrive at the futuristic Montpellier city hall

She earlier called the law that legalised gay marriage “a stage in the modernisation of our country”.

The couple married thanks to a reform that has stoked some of the fiercest French street protests in decades.

On Sunday, hundreds of thousands of opponents of gay marriage flooded Paris in a rally that ended in clashes between police and hardliners.

France's first gay marriage
The city’s mayor officiated the marriage

But, in the main, protesters stayed away from the wedding in Montpellier, France’s self-proclaimed most gay-friendly city. The small demonstrations that did occur failed to disrupt the main event.

Moments before the men walked in, a smoke bomb was lobbed from outside into the perimeter of the city hall. Security guards rushed to investigate, but the wedding went ahead.

Plans to broadcast the ceremony live on a giant TV screen and lay on drinks outside had already been ditched amid fears about protests.

Vincent Autin (L) and Bruno Boileau smile as they sign a document during their marriage ceremony
Vincent (L) and Bruno smile as they sign a marriage document

An emotional Mr Aubin gave a brief speech to those present at the wedding, thanking his family, friends and government spokeswoman Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, a personal friend present at the ceremony.

“Love each other, love us, love one another, because it’s important,” he said from a balcony to the crowd of well-wishers.

He added that the next step would be a law allowing gay couples to adopt children.

France's first gay marriage
Hundreds of guests gathered to watch Vincent and Bruno take their vows

The change in the law to permit same sex marriage came into force this month and made France the 14th country to allow gay weddings.

But in a nation both predominantly Roman Catholic and fiercely attached to the separation of church and state, there has been major opposition.

The move triggered heated street protests by conservatives, Catholics and extreme right-wingers.

France's first gay marriage
The newly-weds speak to the cameras following the ceremony

Last week, one opponent of gay marriage shot himself dead at the altar of Paris’ Notre Dame cathedral in front of horrified tourists.

Mr Aubin, 40, and Mr Boileau, 29, have been together for six years.

They were the first gay couple to apply to marry when Socialist President Francois Hollande was pushing through the law granting equal marriage and adoption rights.

Youth taunt police during incidents at the end of a protest march called, "La Manif pour Tous" (Demonstration for All) against France's legalisation of same-sex marriage, in Paris
Protests against gay marriage in Paris on Sunday turned violent

Mr Aubin proposed by phoning his boyfriend at work in September in front of city officials who had just announced that Montpellier would host the first gay wedding.

Mr Boileau, put publicly on the spot via speakerphone, was taken by surprise but said yes.

Rallies partly fuelled by anger at the government over other issues such as the economy appear to have eroded support for the gay marriage law.

It now stands at 53% for with 47% against, reflecting the deep national division.

As hundreds of thousands marched in Paris in protest on Sunday, the jury at the Cannes Film Festival awarded the event’s top prize to an explicit lesbian love story.


One Response to “Gay Marriage In France: First Male Couple Wed”


  1. propose to me… | myboytrouble - June 5, 2013

    […] Gay Marriage In France: First Male Couple Wed ( […]

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