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France

France celebrates 7,000 gay marriages since law passed in April 2013

media Bruno Boileau (R) and Vincent Autin (L) become France's first gay married couple in Montpellier in May Reuters/Jean-Paul Pelissier

About 7,000 gay marriages have been celebrated in France since same-sex marriage was made legal, in defiance of massive protests against the plan, in April. The figure represents three per cent of total marriages, while same-sex couples are estimated to make up about one per cent of the total number of couples in France.

Since the first gay couple married in the southern city of Montpellier at the end of May, about 7,000 have taken the plunge, according to the national statistics institute, Insee.

Despite vocal protests against the measure before it was passed, none of the ceremonies have been disrupted by opponents but a handful of local mayors have refused to carry them out, to be replaced by another elected official.

One village council, Fontgombault, passed a resolution refusing to carry out same-sex marriages in the name of a "natural law higher than human laws".

The regional prefect has taken the decision to court.

The average age of same-sex couples is higher than that of heterosexual couples, at 50 for men and 43 for women, compared to 37 and 34.

Three out of five same-sex marriages are between men, the same proportion for the civil partnership, Pacs, that already existed.

Gay marriages reached their high point in the year in September, when 1,500 took place and 14 per cent were conducted in Paris and a quarter in cities of over 200,000 inhabitants.

The proportion is expected to fall since many couples were believed to have been waiting for the legislation to be passed to wed.

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