Just one day after France's Constitutional Council approved the country's gay-marriage and adoption bill, French President François Hollande signed the bill into law. Although it was adopted by both the Senate and the National Assembly last month, right-wing opponents had taken one last stab at blocking the bill's passage by contesting it to the Council. France is now the ninth country in Europe, and fourteenth in the world, to recognize gay marriage. The first same-sex weddings can take place as soon as ten days after the bill's signing.
After a tortured debate, the same-sex marriage and adoption bill was adopted by France's Senate and National Assembly last month.
The bill was quickly challenged on constitutional grounds by the main right-wing opposition UMP party of former president Nicolas Sarkozy.
But the Constitutional Council ruled on Friday that same-sex marriage "did not run contrary to any constitutional principles," and that it did not infringe on "basic rights or liberties or national sovereignty".
It said the interest of the child would be paramount in adoption cases, cautioning that legalising same-sex adoption would not automatically mean the "right to a child".
Opinion polls have suggested that approximately 55-60% of French people support same-sex marriage, and about 50% approve of gay adoption.
France is now the 14th country to legalize same-sex marriage after New Zealand in April.
It is also the ninth country in Europe to allow same-sex marriage after legalisation in the traditionally liberal Netherlands and Scandinavia, but also in the strongly Catholic nations of Portugal and Spain. Legislation is also moving through the UK Parliament.