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Trailblazing gay couple toast French marriage breakthrough


A retired gay couple who took part in France's first civil union said Wednesday they had "never been so proud of being French" after parliament's adoption of a bill enabling same-sex couples to marry and adopt children.

Dominique Adamski, 59, and Francis Dekens, 67, celebrated their civil union in the northern city of Lille on November 18, 1999, shortly after the legislation providing for civic partnerships came into force.

They subsequently married in neighbouring Belgium, where gay marriage has been allowed since 2003, and Adamski said he was delighted that France had finally moved to establish full equality between homosexual and heterosexual couples.

"It was with great joy and satisfaction that we cracked open the champagne last night with some straight friends," Adamski told AFP. "We have never been so proud to be French."

The couple plan to have their marriage recognised in France as soon as President Francois Hollande has signed the bill into law, which he has promised to do immediately, presuming France's constitutional court dismisses an appeal against the legislation.