Gay marriage law passes crucial vote in French Senate – France WILL have gay marriages!

Gay marriage has won in France.

The process is a bit more complicated than that, but in essence, gay marriages will be legal in France by this summer (it’s not entirely clear what date).  But it looks like the law itself should be done by the end of May.

Here’s what just happened.

The gay marriage law already passed the French Assembly.  Now it’s in the Senate.

The French Senate just voted on the most important provision of the proposed gay marriage law, and passed it.  That means we’ve basically won – this was the biggest remaining hurdle, and we surmounted it.  But there are still a few more steps before gay marriage is legal.

Eiffel Tower by © John Aravosis

Eiffel Tower by © John Aravosis

Apparently, the way it works over there — and I’ve been conversing with a friend in Paris via Facebook for the blow-by-blow — the law is broken up into its component parts.  And each part of the law gets voted on individually.

In this case, the marriage part just got voted on and passed.

The next step is for the other parts of the law to be voted on (it’s almost like voting on amendments, to put it in American parlance).  Anti-gay conservatives have offered hundred of amendments, and the bill has two dozen sections, each needing a vote – so it could be a month or more until it finally “finally” passes the Senate.

Then, once all the parts are voted on, the Senate will one more time vote on the ENTIRE thing.  But since they already voted in favor of the gay marriage portion of the law, passage of the entire pack is all but assured, I’m told.

Interestingly, though the majority of right-wing Senators voted against us, there were some defections.  My friend tells me we got more votes than we anticipated.

After the Senate is done voting on the whole package, it goes back to the Assembly to be promulgated – but that’s basically a formality. Since the Senate didn’t amend the law, as it was passed by the Assembly, it doesn’t have to go back to the Assembly for another vote.  (Though a second French contact said the bill had been altered slightly – still, no one is expecting votes to change in the Assembly, where we already won.)

Also, because the constitutional council (conseil constitutionnel) has already said it will abide by whatever the legislature passes, there’s no concern about it striking down the proposed law.

So the big hurdle that remained was passing the specific gay marriage provision tonight in the French Senate, and it passed.  So now we wait – and unless there are any surprises, and none are expected, marriages of gay couples will be legalized in France by this summer.

Vive la France. Vive la liberté.

PS Only twenty-four hours later, Uruguay’s parliament has legalized gay marriage in that country. The President has promised to sign the law. It should go into effect by April 20 or so.

CyberDisobedience on Substack | @aravosis | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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43 Responses to “Gay marriage law passes crucial vote in French Senate – France WILL have gay marriages!”

  1. marie says:

    Just a little precison french marriages are not perform or recognise by prefectures, but in mairies (townhalls).

  2. David says:

    This is incorrect. The PACS is not a marriage but rather a sort of Civil Union often adopted by both straight and gay couples in lieu of a Civil Marriage. I say Civil Marriage as France does not recognize religious unions or “sacred” unions. A couple need to go to the Prefecture to have their union being recognized not the Church. There is a significant difference of rights between the 2 unions. Unions by PACS have much lesser civil rights than a Civil Marriage. I am baffled to see how many people are misinformed and don’t realize that in the US or France (until today), Civil Unions were basically voted to calm down the LGBTQ community without truly granted them the same rights as straight couples. Well, it is about to end in France and hopefully the US will follow very soon. LIBERTÉ, ÉGALITÉ, FRATERNITÉ.

  3. Anthony Zamagias says: Story about a gay man being arrested for not leaving his partner in hospital.

  4. I thought gay people were asking for access to regular marriages. Gay people already have, and have had, “gay marriage” in France for years. “Gay marriages” were called “pacte civil de solidarité”. We don’t want gay marriages, we want access to the same marriage that everyone else gets; MARRIAGE. That’s why people call it “marriage equality”.

  5. fentwin says:

    For all of those who screech that marriage should be based on the Bible, and should only be between a man and a woman;

    I say fine, have a rib removed, toss it on the ground and if it turns into a woman, may you have a nice life together.

  6. Jordan Petersen says:

    Congratulations France! I am so happy for you. America, once again falls behind on its “freedom and equality” BS. The United Kingdom and New Zealand are also legalizing marriage equality.

    We are falling so far behind, it makes me want to cover my eyes with the palm of my hand in shame. Ah, I already did.

  7. Badgerite says:

    Like the man said, though self-evident, these rights have never been self-executing. One of my favorite lines of all time. It has always, throughout US history, been a struggle to make those phrases in the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence have real substance in society. It is gratifying to see faith in the ideas expressed in those documents justified by what has happened in the past and what is happening now. I’m positively ‘raptured’.

  8. ACB says:

    Do you know anything about when they are tackling the “amendment” on “l’homoparentalité” – allowing the married to also be parents ( : ??? I just went to the French consulat and they told me that even if gay marriage passes unless certain amendements pass about being able to parent, I still would not be able to put my married partner on our son’s birth certificate.

  9. Ninong says:

    All that sawdust in the Wonder bread went to their heads.

  10. Ninong says:

    Yes, there’s at least one video clip of him conversing in French and he’s reasonably fluent, but with a strong accent. He studied French before going to France for his 30-month mission. He was talking to Frenchmen every day, trying to talk them into giving up coffee, wine and cigarettes, as well as 10% of their income to boot. By his own admission, it didn’t go too well.

  11. samizdat says:

    Well, we are all of us one species, no?

  12. samizdat says:

    Aaaah-men, base ten is sooo much easier.

  13. UncleBucky says:

    Stay together and represent. ;o)

  14. UncleBucky says:

    And, in a way, the notion of 1% was enshrined in the Constitution. 3/5 rule and all… The Constitution had to be amended to give a conceptual right to vote to People of Color and to allow women to vote equally as men. The so-called Equality has always been temperted with “except….” and “except….” and “except….” since the beginning.

  15. UncleBucky says:

    “Mittens and his wife are fluent in French”… Have we ever heard him interviewed in French, or to participate in a chat show in French? He may be able to speak French, but I wonder that he or she is “fluent”. So, does anyone have some video of this character speaking other than “Amerikun”? ;)

  16. UncleBucky says:

    They have Wonder Bread overdose/poisoning, I’d say, is the reason. ;o)

  17. UncleBucky says:

    America or France, it’s ultimately about the World, eh?

  18. UncleBucky says:

    I’d say the US will hang onto its system of measures longer than anything else. But when (I almost wrote “if”) Equal Marriage passes in the US, that will be the death knell for our obsolete system of measures. Both will/may take another generation, when the Millenials assume power.

  19. UncleBucky says:

    So, when are the Westboro Baptist Church booking their flight to Paris? ;o)

  20. and Once AGAIN – America embarrasses itself with its BLATANT LIE – of Liberty and Justice for All……what a Joke!

  21. This country is still hanging onto an obsolete system of measurement, so maybe the United States. We’re about four decades late going metric.

  22. Randay says:

    Where are the Republicans when it comes to helping France fight terrorists in Mali? I haven’t heard a peep out of them. France saved the country with minimum loses and is already starting to withdraw troops. The Socialist governments(really social-democrats)have often disappointed, but in the nineties they passed a civil union law called PACS. Now they are about to legalize gay marriage. A main backward stance is on the legalization of marijuana. But then, a majority of the French are also against.

    France is considered a Catholic country, but a recent poll showed that only 40% identified themselves as Catholic and of those, only 5% said they went to mass. Condoms are given free to junior and senior high school students by the school nurse. 15-18 year-olds can get the morning-after pill for free. None of these things are considered controversial now.

  23. Iam Knowjuan says:

    I’m worried it might be my adopted home of Australia.

  24. Bill_Perdue says:

    Republicans are not our only enemies. The Democrats gave us DOMA and DADT and refuse to pass ENDA or repeal Bill Clinton’s DOMA.

  25. Bill_Perdue says:

    Will the US Congress be one of the last legislature to enact marriage equality? Just how many centuries are encompassed by the liberal’s incrementalist mentality?

    Enact a robust inclusive ENDA or CRA covering housing, employment and public services and criminalizing hate speech.

    Repeal Bill Clintons DOMA and enact a federal Amendment to sweep away state DOMA’s.

    Free Brad Manning

  26. Pat says:


    Let me offer some clarifications and corrections to your post. As you mentioned, the Senate has approved the first part of the bill after rejecting all the modifications (‘amendments’) submitted by the opposition party. This article was absolutely not changed from its version passed by the National Assembly (lower House). Therefore, this part of the law will not need to voted upon again by the National Assembly. However, subsequent articles will change slightly (only minor points) and therefore these will need to get approved again by the lower house later.

    Regarding schedule, the final Senate vote is actually expected to be over by the end of this week already, either Friday or Saturday (barring some surprising moves by the anti-gays). Then the timing for the bill to get its final approval in the lower house would be around the end of May.

    Adding another delay due to the fact that the anti-gays are expected to appeal to the Constitutional Council, this is expected to be finalized by the end of June at the latest, with the first weddings taking place this summer already.

  27. Ninong says:

    LeMonde says the first article (which opens marriage to gays) passed 179-157 unchanged compared to the first reading vote in the National Assembly. That vote becomes final unless the entire bill is rejected after consideration by the Senate. According to LeMonde, it will not be subjected to a second reading in the National Assembly or the CMP (Mixed Commission).

    Le Sénat a adopté, dans la soirée de mardi 9 avril, le premier article du projet de loi sur le mariage homosexuel, le plus important, qui ouvre le mariage aux personnes de même sexe. Cet article a été adopté par 179 voix contre 157, sans modification par rapport au vote en première lecture de l’Assemblée nationale. Ce vote devient donc définitif sauf si l’ensemble du projet de loi était rejeté à l’issue de son examen par le Sénat. Il ne sera pas soumis à une deuxième lecture de l’Assemblée nationale ni à la CMP (Commission mixte paritaire).

  28. Ninong says:

    And yet the GOP nominated a man who is about as big a francophile as there is in that party. Both Mittens and his wife are fluent in French and Mittens even chose France as the country where he wanted to spend his 30-months draft-dodging tour of duty as a Mormon missionary.

  29. Suspect there’s a residency law, but who knows

  30. karmanot says:

    Why do Republicans hate croissants? Answer: Wonder bread.

  31. karmanot says:

    Or Arizona, Or Kansas

  32. PalmSpringsRod says:

    Great news. Loved the video of the right wingers defacing the GLBT center you posted earlier this week. What cowards. I am so glad to get some good news. My partner and I hope to get married late this summer. I wonder if it would be possible in Paris?

  33. tomtallis says:

    This should, I hope, put some pressure on Germany and Austria.

  34. FLL says:

    A very important domino. Two more dominoes that should fall shortly are Uruguay and Colombia. The high court in Colombia ruled that marriage equality must take effect in June unless the legislature tries to stop it. Most observers believe the Colombian legislature will let marriage equality become law by simply taking no action.

  35. Mike_H says:

    I find it ironic that the GOP is so anti-France (and in general, anti-European), and yet from an economic standpoint, they desperately want us to embrace the austerity model that has already failed Europe. They’re *very* European that way! :-)

  36. Ha! We admittedly love France, but 99% of our posts are about America :)

  37. Drew2u says:

    (Don’t know where my previous comment went, but)
    On the note of binational gay couples, Rachel Maddow’s first segment of today’s program about the Sandy Hook Massacre and Gun Control legislation, she said [paraphrasing] “They (the parents) are doing everything they can to keep it in the news.” To which, would be a call-to-action for UAFA (& Women’s Rights, and the Post Office, and ending the Sequester, and stopping the newest version of PIPA, and ENDA, and Keystone/Fracking).
    Be loud, be persistent. The gay rights movement has done that in spades and have gotten us this far in 10, 20 years.

  38. Drew2u says:

    So what do French/American binational gay couples to do? (/snark?)

  39. guest1 says:

    Sometimes I wonder if this is america blog or france blog :P

  40. That is a great clip from my favorite movie of all time!!! Thanks, and it’s so apropo! Viva la France!

  41. kingstonbears says:

    This really is quite amazing. So let’s start a pool as to which country will be the last to embrace marriage equality — the United States or, say, Nigeria.

  42. Jim Olson says:

    This will not help our cause here. Remember that many Rethuglicans are also Francophobes.

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