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French same-sex couple: Why we tied the knot

By Saskya Vandoorne and Peter Wilkinson, CNN
updated 7:12 AM EDT, Thu May 30, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Two men explain why they have become France's first same-sex married couple
  • Bruno Boileau said he loved Vincent Autin's "charisma, sensibility, determination"
  • They also want to build family and teach future generations to end prejudices
  • Couple thank those who helped win controversial right for gay couples to marry

Editor's note: What are your thoughts on France's first same sex marriage? Share your views.

Montpellier (CNN) -- Two men who have become France's first same-sex married couple have opened their hearts about the special qualities in each other that made them want to spend the rest of their lives together.

In the nervous minutes leading up to Wednesday's groundbreaking ceremony in the southern city of Montpellier, Bruno Boileau said he adored Vincent Autin's "charisma, his ability to appease me, calm me down ... also his sensibility and his determination."

And returning the warmth, Autin told CNN in the couple's only interview on their wedding day: "What I love about him is his objectivity and the way he protects me. He is my great protector."

But their marriage is not just about their love; they also want to build a family and, perhaps, teach future generations how to break down prejudices.

Open Mic: Same-sex marriage
A day in the life of same-sex marriage

"We want children, we want to pass down values that are important to us, that we hold dear, that are right. And we want grandchildren and great-grandchildren, a real family," Autin said.

"One of the reasons we want children is because children have no judgement, and we want to break down society's barriers."

He added that "when French children are born into this world, they are born with the same rights as everyone else -- but from the moment you said you were a homosexual, society deprived you of some of those rights. Today the French Republic has given these rights back to us."

The 40-year-old, who works for Montpellier's tourism office, expressed his gratitude to those who had helped win the controversial right for same-sex couples to marry, legislation that was signed into law 10 days ago by President Francois Hollande.

"We are very nervous, but obviously excited. This is a step forward for France. What's happened today is thanks to everybody who has been so mobilized over the past few months."

The change in the law has not been without its opponents, prompting sometimes-violent demonstrations of hundreds of thousands of people across France. "It's very sad that they turned violent," Autin said. "It's always so surprising to feel so attacked, but you must remember this was a minority and most people are in favor. This proves that love can triumph over hatred."

"So thankful to those who helped us come to this moment. Some of the people we're referring to have passed away, such as Harvey Milk [the first openly gay American elected to public office] who was a great inspiration."

Autin described how the couple met seven years ago. While surfing the net at the same time, they both chanced on an online fan forum for a pop star who found fame on a show similar to "Pop Idol." A group of people decided to go for lunch, after which he and Boileau, a 30-year-old civil servant, became inseparable.

Like many a couple tying the knot, Autin declined to give details about what outfits they would wear, but he did confide what both parties hoped to get out of the big day: "Obviously love, but also a great party."

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