May 28 - A French couple from Montpellier is set to become the first gay partners to marry after France passed a law legalising gay marriage and adoption earlier in May. Jessica Gray reports.
France is to join its first gay couple in matrimony on Wednesday as increasingly violent protests continue. The couple set to make marriage history in France are Vincent Autin and Bruno Boileau who live in Montpellier. Autin is the head of the community's LGBT group and says he is overjoyed that he and his partner now have equal rights to wed as heterosexual couples. (SOUNDBITE) (French) VINCENT AUTIN, ONE OF FIRST GAYS TO WED IN FRANCE, SAYING: "It's pure happiness. We're going to be united, but we can only be united because people have supported each other to win the fight. That created a movement of solidarity which led to all of us defending this idea of equality which is dear to us." Hundreds, including some prominent supporters of gay marriage, are set to attend the wedding. Montpellier, one of France's most gay friendly cities, is also planning to have big screens outside town hall broadcasting the couple exchanging vows. The issue has divided French citizens and sparked protests on the streets and even inside the national assembly. Research shows that 53% of residents support gay marriage and adoption, signed into law by President Francois Hollande on May 18. This comes despite growing anger from hardline opponents who have made headlines for months during clashes with police and high profile demonstrations.