The mayor hailed the “historic moment” that two French people of the same sex were united in marriage.
The clerk held back tears as she read the marriage act and, to the sound of Frank Sinatra singing “Love and marriage, love and marriage, go together like a horse and carriage,” Vincent Autin and Bruno Boileau became the first French men to wed under new legislation allowing same sex marriage.
With the couple seated in front of her and holding hands in the Montpellier city hall, packed with 500 guests and 140 journalists, mayor Hélène Mandroux said: “We have dreamed of this day. Today, this dream will become a reality.”
The civil ceremony, which lasted just over 15 minutes, took place in the presence of MPs, politicians and the Socialist government spokeswoman and minister for women’s rights, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem.
The guests applauded and whistled after Ms Mondraux invited the couple to stand to exchange vows and pronounced them “united in the name of the law”.
Crowds of people gathered outside the city hall in Montpellier, a town with a large gay community, to celebrate the event, which was delayed by 15 minutes because of a telephoned anonymous threat.
A small number of protesters left the building before the ceremony.
The guests had badges checked and 200 police maintained a discreet presence to guard against violent protests which have punctuated the heated debate on the measure over the last few months. The reform, which provides for gay couples to adopt children, has split the country.
Ms Mandroux referred in her speech to the “outpouring of hatred and violence” that marked the passage of the law.
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