France sees 7,000 gay marriages last year
Reposted from France 24: http://www.france24.com/en/20140114-7000-france-gay-marriage-hollande-insee-constitution/
About 7,000 same-sex couples tied the knot in France last year after gay marriage was legalised in May, the national statistics agency said Tuesday.
France legalised same-sex marriage after months of intense and sometimes violent protests, in keeping with an election pledge by Socialist President François Hollande, who faced a huge backlash from the right and the powerful Catholic Church.
Same-sex unions made up around three percent of all marriages registered in France in 2013, France’s Insee statistics agency said.
Three out of every five gay marriages involved male couples, it said.
The average age at which gay men got married was 50, while it was 43 for women. The corresponding average age for heterosexual couples was 37 and 34.
The average age difference in same-sex marriages was eight years in male couples and 5.5 years in female couple, against 4.3 years in mixed marriages, Insee reported.
The first gay marriage in France was held on May 29 in the southern city of Montpellier, which has a gay-friendly reputation.
But many die-hard conservatives have continued to oppose the measure.
Some mayors argue that the lack of an option not to perform gay marriages violates the French constitution, which stipulates that freedom of conscience is a fundamental human right.
Several have refused to conduct gay marriages on the grounds it goes against their beliefs, but the Constitutional Council, France's top court, has ruled they cannot do this.
Despite opening up the institution of marriage to same-sex couples, the total number of marriages resumed its downward trend in 2013. After a steady decline since 2005, the number of marriages increased slightly to 246,000 in 2012 but dropped again in 2013 to 238,000.