French President Francois Hollande told his fellow countrymen Tuesday that it was time now to focus on reviving the national economy rather than focusing any more energy on the debate over gay marriage. The French parliament officially voted to make gay marriage legal that same day, as reported by Euronews and other media outlets.
The debate over gay marriage has lasted for months. Protesters gathered in the tens of thousands to show their opposition to the idea at large rallies in January and March, and thousands more held daily protests this week in anticipation of a vote by the lower house. The French Senate had voted in favor of legalizing gay marriage back on April 12.
Here is some of the key information that emerged on Tuesday regarding the legalization of gay marriage in France, and Hollande's new priorities.
* The law to establish the right of same-sex couples to marry passed the National Assembly on Tuesday by a vote of 331-225, as reported by Bloomberg and other media outlets around the world.
* The legalization of gay marriage in France was a priority for Hollande even before he became president. It was one of his most oft-repeated campaign promises in the months leading up to the elections, and one of the key things he wanted to accomplish as part of his social reforms.
* Violence broke out during protests in Paris on Tuesday evening, with the police intervening to restore calm. Hollande responded to the outcry the next day, telling his countrymen that "I seek and I call on everyone to seek peace," and that "everything now needs to be concentrated on and devoted to what is essential -- the economic success of our country and national cohesion," as quoted by Euronews.
* Violence also erupted during protests in Lyon that same evening. Other protests held around the country were reportedly held without serious incident.
* Members from opposition parties have requested that France's Constitutional Court to examine the new law, which also grants same-sex couples the right to adopt children.
* As noted by Reuters, Hollande wants the law to go into effect by May 25, which means the first gay marriages could be official by early June.
* Hollande has been subjected to months of harsh criticism over his perceived decision to promote social reforms over economic concerns, despite the fact that France's current unemployment rate is nearing the record high of 3.195 million established in 1997.
* The protests reportedly prompted Hollande's Socialist Party to push through a vote on his "marriage for all" legislation, so that the focus of citizens would shift to his economic agenda, according to the New York Times.
* When Hollande signs the legislation it will make France the 14th nation in the world to fully legalize gay marriage.Vanessa Evans is a musician, traveler, and freelance writer with an interest in European studies and events.
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