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It's official: France's president signs marriage-equality bill into law

PARIS -- France becomes the 14th nation in the world to legalize marriage equality, after President Francois Hollande signed the bill into law today.

The first same-sex marriages can be held as early as May 28, 2013 ... but the BBC reported that Parliamentary Relations Minister Alain Vidalies told French TV he expected the first ceremonies to take place "before 1 July."

"Now it is time to respect the law of the Republic," Hollande said, apparently directed at critics who have held violent street protests over the past few months at the nation's lawmakers debated the bill.

The bill has already survived a constitutional challenge this week. The Constitutional Council ruled on Friday that the law did not infringe on anybody's rights or liberties, and dismissed the challenge.

Same-sex marriage is legal in Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, the Netherlands (and the Caribbean island of Saba), New Zealand (August 2013), Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden and Uruguay (no later than Aug. 1).

In Mexico, same-sex marriage is available in the Federal District (Mexico City) and in the states of Oaxaca and Quintana Roo. The marriages are recognized nationwide by Supreme Court order.

In the United States, same-sex marriage is legal in Connecticut, Delaware (July 1, 2013), Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota (Aug. 1), New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island (Aug. 1, 2013), Vermont and Washington -- and in Washington, D.C. It also is legal within the Coquille Indian tribe in Oregon, the Suquamish Indian tribe in Washington state and the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians in Michigan.