France became the 14th country to legalize gay marriage and the third in just two weeks, following in the footsteps of New Zealand and Uruguay. While the Socialist country is often considered inherently liberal and secular, the proposal to legalize gay marriage and adoption exposed a very divided country, and protests against the law continued up until the moment it was passed.
Right before the vote, there was a disruption in the gallery as a gay-marriage opponent attempted to unveil a banner that read "les ennemis de la démocratie," or enemies of democracy. For a week before the vote, both pro and anti gay marriage and adoption crowds took to the streets of Paris to demonstrate, and police had to resort to tear gas as dozens were arrested. Politicians fought with each other and received death threats, and incidents of homophobic violence, including attacks on gay bars in Lille and Bordeaux, have risen three times in six months.
Despite the difficult road, supporters of gay marriage celebrated in France today. The law, sponsored by the unpopular new Socialist President Francois Hollande, passed the parliament after clearing the senate weeks ago. The opposition already promised to appeal to the constitutional council, but so long as they don't overturn it, gay couples should be able to marry by the Summer. See photos of the vote passing today and of the protests this week now.