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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, January 17 2014 - Volume 42 Issue 03
7,000 French weddings since May 29, 2013
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7,000 French weddings since May 29, 2013

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Seven thousand same-sex couples have married in France since May 29, 2013, when it first became legal, France's National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE) says. The figure represents about 3% of all French marriages.

About 60% of the marriages involved male couples, INSEE added. This is the same proportion for civil partnerships, or PACs - in France, a separate legal relationship.

Same-sex marriages reached their high point in September, when 1,500 took place. Fourteen percent were conducted in Paris, and a quarter in cities of over 200,000 inhabitants.

The proportion of same-sex marriages is expected to fall since many couples were thought to be waiting for the legislation to be passed in order to wed.

French Gay and Lesbian couples married at an older age than opposite-sex couples. Gay men averaged 50 years of age and Lesbians 43. For straight newly-weds, the average age was 37 for men and 34 for women.

INSEE did not speculate whether this difference was due to the fact that until last year same-sex couples were unable to marry, regardless of the age at which they made a commitment to one another.

The average age difference in same-sex marriages was eight years in male couples and 5.5 years in female couple, against 4.3 years in mixed marriages, INSEE reported.

Bruno Boileau and Vincent Autin were the first same-sex French couple to marry, which they did in the popular Gay resort town of Montpellier.

France legalized same-sex marriage after months of intense and sometimes violent protests, in keeping with an election pledge by Socialist President Fran├žois Hollande. Hollande's government faced a huge backlash from the right and the powerful Catholic Church.

Some right-wing mayors claimed the right to opt out of performing Gay marriages, citing the French constitution, which stipulates that freedom of conscience is a fundamental human right.

Several have refused to conduct Gay marriages on the grounds it goes against their beliefs, but the Constitutional Council, France's top court, has ruled they must perform marriages - Gay or straight - as part of their legal duties.

While Gay and Lesbian couples rushed to get married in 2013, the total number of marriages in France continued to decline. After a steady decline since 2005, the total number of marriages increased slightly to 246,000 in 2012, but dropped again in 2013 to 238,000.

President Hollande himself is in a PAC, a civil union, with his partner, Valerie Treirweiler. He was previously in a PAC with fellow Socialist politician, Segolene Royal.

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