Vincent and Bruno tie the knot in the first same-sex marriage in France
Two men married each other in the southern French city of Montpellier on Wednesday, in the first same-sex wedding in a country rocked by protests against and for the reform.
Vincent Autin and Bruno Boileau exchanged vows in the city hall before the mayor, relatives and friends as dozens of riot police stood guard outside to ensure the ceremony was not interrupted by protestors.
The two men, who have been together since they hit it off six years ago discussing music in an online forum, embraced to wild cheers from the audience of some 500 people and the strains of “Love and Marriage” by U.S. crooner Frank Sinatra.
“It’s a great pleasure for me to declare you married by law,” said Montpellier Mayor Helene Mandroux as the couple, both dressed in dark suits, kissed and signed the marriage registry.
The ceremony marked a symbolic end to months of debate that often overshadowed France’s economic woes, sealing Socialist President Francois Hollande’s reputation as a reformer despite bitter and continued opposition from Catholics and conservatives.
Despite support for the reform in Montpellier, which boasts of being France’s most gay-friendly town, officials scrapped plans to broadcast the wedding live on a giant TV screen and instead beamed it live online to the city’s website.
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.