Gay marriage moves on

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Gay marriage moves on

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Some people organising a marriage are stressed out by it. Not Vincent and Bruno. They welcome all the preparations as a sort of antidote to all the media focus and social debate gay marriage has been stirring up lately in France.

The French law on same-sex marriage was officially published on 18 May, with shifting public approval ratings, now at around 52 percent. It continues to be fiercely contested by some people.

In the forefront of the anti- movement, activist Frigide Barjot had this message for Vincent and Bruno: “Be happy, have your party, but understand that what you’re putting into practice is going to make it difficult to go back on. Know that this has consequences for children.”

In Belgium, where gay marriage has been legal for ten years now, debate is pretty calm. The numbers are stable: around a thousand such marriages per year, which is around five percent of the total. The gay divorce rate in Belgium is around 20 percent.

Spain has had around 20,000 gay marriages and almost 600 gay divorces since its marriage equality law was approved in 2005. The Spanish Constitutional Court finally ratified this last autumn, as well as the provision allowing gay couples to adopt children.

More countries are considering the question, such as Croatia, which is about to become a European Union member state on 1 July. In Croatia, the constitution doesn’t define what marriage is, and this has anti-gay marriage activists insisting on a referendum on whether to restrict marriage to a union of a man and a woman.

In some countries it’s even risky to bring out the rainbow flag, symbolising gay pride and diversity. According to research institute Levada, only one percent of all Russians respect gay rights.

Hostility towards gays is strong in Ukraine as well. But there’s been some progress: the first ever gay rally was allowed to take place on Saturday in Kiev; to the frustration of some it had police protection.