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Thursday, 30 May 2013

When Vincent and Bruno got married, the world didn't end

But maybe it changed a little for the better

France has celebrated its first same-sex marriage.

The eyes of the world - or at least the cameras - were on Montpellier on Wednesday as Vincent Autin and Bruno Boileau exchanged vows and rings in front of the city's mayor, Hélène Mandroux.

Montpellier's mayor Hélène Mandroux with Vincent Autin (right) and Bruno Boileau (screenshot AFPTV)

It was a moving moment to watch and - if you believe in the institution of marriage - seemed such a natural ending to the most normal of love stories (you can read about how they met in this piece from The Guardian).

Yes, those words are chosen deliberately.

It didn't mark the breakdown of French society as we know it, although those opposed to the idea that same-sex couples should have the right to marry will probably continue their reactionary and discriminatory bleating from the sidelines.

Rather it's a sign that French law has caught up with what opinion polls have been saying for the past decade.

And that's progress.

There'll be more evidence of that when two characters from one of the country's most popular daily soap operas "Plus belle la vie" - Thomas Marci (played by actor, Laurent Kérusoré)  Gabriel Riva (Joakim Latzko) tie the knot in an episode due to be screened in a month or so.

And as part of a poster campaign it has just launched in Paris to appeal to a younger public who might be living and working in different European cities, the high-speed train operator Thalys has  included a gay couple.

No, being gay or lesbian is not a trend, a fashion statement or a lifestyle choice as some of those protesting against the right of same-sex couples to marry might have claimed.

And while this week's events might have grabbed the headlines both in France and abroad, it surely also gives rise to the hope that some time very soon people will look back at Vincent and Bruno's marriage and wonder what all the fuss was about.

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