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7,000 same-sex weddings in a year

April 23, 2014, marks the first anniversary of the French parliamentary vote that legalised same-sex marriage

AN ESTIMATED 7,000 same-sex marriages have taken place in the year since they became legal in France.

On April 23, 2013 - after many amendments and hours of debates in the National Assembly, same-sex marriages were written into law after 331 MPs voted in favour, against 225 who were opposed. Ten abstained.

Despite protests the day after the law was passed, the first same-sex marriages took place in June.

French official statistics body INSEE says that “about” 7,000 same-sex marriages took place between April 23 and December 31, 2013.

Mayors are obliged to reveal the number of marriages they carry out every year - but not all figures have been received for the 2013.

The estimated figure is 3% of the total number of marriages in France, with three out of every five gay unions recorded being between men.

Older couples tend to be more likely to marry. The former mayor of Paris’s 11th arrondisement Patrick Block, who married 122 gay couples between June 10, 2013, and April 12, 2014, said that some of them had been together “10, 20, 35 years”.

According to INSEE, the average age of married men in 2013 was 50, while for women it was 43.

Same-sex marriages took place in 2,900 municipalities in France by December 31, 2013, figures show - but some mayors oppose the unions.

Fourteen brought a case before the case before France’s Constitutional Council, citing "their conscience clause" - but it was thrown out. They have now taken their case to the European Court of Human Rights.

Meanwhile, silent protests against same-sex marriage take place almost daily outside the Ministry of Justice at Place Vendôme in Paris.

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