France Gay Marriage: Which Will Be the 10th European Country to Legalize Gay Marriage?


The French Constitutional Council rejected challenges made Friday by conservative lawmakers over the constitutionality of the Marriage for All bill passed by French Parliament in April. The ruling means the bill must published in the country’s official journal. Going forward, the bill's passage makes France the ninth European country to legalize same-sex marriage and has many wondering what the 10th will be.

It seems likely that the next European country to legalize same-sex marriage will have set some sort of previous legal precedent. Likely, it will be one of the twelve European countries that have already set in place a legal framework regarding civil unions or civil partnerships (Austria, Switzerland, Slovenia, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, Ireland, Finland, Germany, Hungary, United Kingdom, Andorra, and the Czech Republic). Before the Marriage for all Bill was passed, the French Parliament had already passed the Civil Solidarity Pact in 1999 that legalized civil unions.

It also seems clear that the hypothetical 10th nation's liberal party will back the legislative framework necessary for full same-sex marriage rights. However, historically, a country's conservative base will have to back the legislative framework for the bill to gain passage. In the United Kingdom, for instance, the Civil Partnership Act 2004 was pushed through British Parliament (400-175 votes) by conservative Prime Minister David Cameron and half of the other conservative MPs.

Regardless of the country, expect a rise in violent homophobic crime and protests following any proposal similar to the Marriage for All bill. Last month, following the passing of the Marriage for All, there was an alarming uptick in violent homophobic crimes in France, highlighted by the media and activist groups after the brutal assault of Wilfred de Bruijn in Paris. Elizabeth Ronzier, head of the French activist group SOS Homophobie, reported a 30% increase in the number of homophobic and transphobic assaults between 2011 and 2012 following the proposal of the Marriage for All bill. Ronzier was quoted saying:

"In the two months to the end of February this year, we received the same amount of testimonies that we would normally get over a period of six months."