France: First wedding trade show for gay male couples takes place in Paris
Just four days after France’s Parliament passed a bill to allow equal marriage and adoption for gay couples, the first wedding trade show aimed at gay male couples took place.
On Saturday 27 April the first trade show took place, the aim of which was to provide the same services as a trade show for straight couples, but in a diverse and gay-friendly environment.
The showroom was 700 metres squared, and featured thirty companies, wedding planners, photographers, and suit-makers, reports France 24.
The event’s organiser Claire Jollain said: “The main difference is that here, exhibitors display equality.”
One gay couple attending the event, Severin and Steve, said they attended out of curiosity. “I asked Severin in October, before the adoption of the law,” said Steve. “Now we can begin to think seriously about the preparations.” They said it was “the atmosphere”, which attracted them to the event.
All exhibitors at the event were required to be gay friendly, in an interest of ruling out the possibility that attendees might come across vendors who object to providing their services to a same-sex ceremony.
“Some lawyers have told us that they were not interested in working on gay marriage contracts out of a question of values,” said Jean-François, a wedding planner.
Despite a celebration at the fact that such an event has taken place, there were fears of a backlash, following violent protests after the National Assembly voted in favour of the equal marriage bill.
Police were deployed outside the event, as a precautionary measure, and some attendees said they knew that some people had not attended for fear of violence.
On Tuesday the ruling Socialist party and their allies in the lower house of the National Assembly passed the bill 331 in favour – 225 against, giving same-sex couples the legal right to marry and adopt children.
Despite the vicious backlashes, ahead of the French Parliament’s final vote on equal marriage, a couple announced their plans to wed in the southern city of Montpellier, nicknamed the French San Francisco in a ceremony which is set to prove to be symbolic.
Following the vote, riot police charged several times to attempt to clear protesters from Les Invalides, however they were forced to move down to the banks of the river Seine, where more violent clashes took place.
The final remaining step before the bill becomes law is for it to be signed by President Francois Hollande, who gave his formal approval to the bill last November.
President Hollande urged the country to move on after a divisive debate around equal marriage, a bill to legalise which passed on Tuesday, and which led to violent protests by opponents to the measure.
The US state of Washington’s attorney general last week filed a lawsuit against Arlene’s Flowers, which refused to provide flowers to a gay couple for their wedding, despite having served them previously.
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