Although French President Hollande has made passing gay marriage a priority, religious leaders and conservatives have lined up against him.
(Image source: BBC ) BY ZACH TOOMBS After months of bitter debate and public clashes over the issue, France’s parliament gave its approval for same-sex marriage Tuesday by a vote of 331 to 225. Hundreds of thousands have taken part in demonstrations on both sides of the legislation. French President Francois Hollande has said it’s a top priority. But opponents have been steadfast and well-organized, bringing together Catholic, Jewish and Islamic leaders to rally against the proposal. (Via The Guardian ) The BBC says public debate over gay marriage has been decidedly more heated than debate within Parliament. French police, particularly in Paris have even bulked up security, fearing the legislation’s passage could lead to violence. Al Jazeera says attacks against gay people have been on the rise. “Before this debate, homophobia was hidden. It was there, but no one expressed it. These demonstrations have brought homophobes together and given them a feeling of strength in numbers.” Perhaps the most prominent victim of anti-gay attacks: Wilfred de Brujin, a Dutch national living in France, who says he was beaten by a group shouting gay slurs on the streets of Paris. (Via Facebook / Wilfred de Brujin ) Sky News took note Tuesday of the growing number of nations that have OK’d gay marriage. The largest concentration is found in Europe, with a few scattered in South America. Add to that list — Canada, New Zealand and nine American states. The first marriages for same-sex couples in France could come as soon as two months from now. But the bill passed by Parliament on Tuesday won’t become law until it passes a Constitutional review and is signed by President Hollande.