First French Gay Marriage

Representatives of the world’s media descended on the liberal city of Montpellier, France on Wednesday 29th May for the very first gay wedding in France, just days after President Hollande signed the same-sex marriage bill in to law.

Vincent Autin, 40, and Bruno Boileau, 30, celebrated their love with a wedding ceremony and the slightly futuristic Montpellier City Hall, joined by 500 of their closest friends and a media contingent mustering more than 300.

‘Liberty, Equality, Fraternity is written on the walls of City Hall so perhaps it was a fitting venue for the country’s first gay wedding, presided over by city Mayor Hélène Mandroux, which was broadcast live on the city government’s website to the world. Among the 500 plus guests were prominent gay rights activists, equality campaigners and high profile political figures.

Montpellier is wonderfully vibrant Mediterranean city that enjoys a hedonistic and bohemian lifestyle, with a strong and colourful student population and is known as a particularly ‘gay-friendly’ city. Indeed many commentators and inhabitants consider it to be comparable to California’s lively gay community in San Francisco or the United Kingdom’s city of Brighton.

Following on from the violent demonstrations against marriage equality that took place in Paris on Sunday that saw hundreds arrested, the local police and organisers took no chances, 100 police officers were put on the wedding’s security detail, with another 80 gendarmes ready to back them up, according to the local police office.

Vincent Autin, 40, a gay activist and the head of a Montpellier public relations firm, and Bruno Boileau, 30, a government worker, have been together for more than five years and state that as significant as their wedding was, it was just one step towards their bigger goal, to start a family by adopting a child.
“The law will allow that, but we’re very aware that we won’t have the child we both want right away,” Autin said. “Mentalities have to change. And of course the path to adoption is long, even for heterosexuals.”

“Everything won’t get done from one day to the next,” Boileau agreed.

We wish them well and hope they have a long and happy future together.

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