Hundreds of journalists and a lot of police are on hand in the French city of Montpellier today as the nation prepares for its first same-sex wedding.
The first gay wedding in France on Wednesday will be anything but a private and quiet affair. Echoing months of acrimonious debate over a same-sex marriage law that was approved by lawmakers in April, the historic nuptials were set to feature partisan politics, security concerns and frenzied media coverage. Frigide Barjot, a stand-up comedian who has led France’s anti-gay marriage movement, has urged opponents of the law to stay away from Wednesday’s wedding. But organisers and local police were taking no chances, beefing up security around the mayor’s office and keeping riot police on standby. Up to 100 police officers were put on the wedding’s security detail, with another 80 gendarmes ready to back them up, according to the local police prefect’s office.
Anti-gay activists pledged to meet a spokesman for the French government at the airport when she arrived today.