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A first: Gay couple marry in France

MONTPELLIER, France -- In a historic ceremony broadcast live on French television, the first gay couple to marry in France said "Oui," then sealed the deal with a lengthy and very public kiss.

Hundreds of invited guests including a government minister gathered for the ceremony yesterday inside city hall in southern French city of Montpellier. Hundreds more flocked to the square outside as Vincent Autin, 40, and his partner, Bruno Boileau, 30, were wed.

The politically charged ceremony was held under tight police surveillance -- a reminder of the months of bruising opposition to the gay marriage and adoption law French lawmakers passed this month.

Although the marriage itself went undisrupted, outside the city hall it was not trouble-free. A plainclothes policeman dragged back one protester who shouted threats and tried to approach the couple as they were being escorted into the building, before the ceremony. Police also used tear gas to push back a small group of demonstrators who gathered behind the city hall.

"Even if we have passed the hurdle of equality, there are still more battles to fight . . . But for now, it's a moment for festivity, for love," Autin said after exchanging vows. -- AP

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