Francois Hollande has signed into law the right to gay marriage and adoption for same-sex couples.

Hollande's signing of the bill means the first same-sex marriages could be celebrated in the next fortnight, little more than a year after Hollande pledged marriage equality in his pre-election manifesto.

Protests, both pro and anti-gay marriage, have gripped France in the past 12 months, some ending with clashes between police and activists.

The much-argued law was approved by the French senate and national assembly last month and, despite a late challenge from the country's right-wing parties, was upheld by the Constitutional Council.

SEE ALSO: Gay Marriage: The 21st Century's 'Unstoppable Global Trend'

gay marriage france

Hollande's signing of the bill enshrined gay marriage into law

The signing of the bill makes France the 14th country in the world to legalise gay marriage, and the ninth in Europe behind Belgium, Denmark, Iceland, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain and Sweden.

On the issue of equal rights for same-sex adopters, the courts were clear that the new bill would not automatically grant the "right to a child".

The law comes at a time when Francois Hollande is suffering with increasingly low approval ratings, the lowest of any recent French president.

A stagnant economy and rising unemployment, now over 10%, ave severely hit Hollande's ratings.

Some 60% of the French public support the bill, but opponents to equal marriage have said they will continue their campaign, with a major rally planned for 26 May in Paris.

Loading Slideshow...
  • File, this April 21, 2013 file image shows demonstrators gathered at the Invalides square in Paris, during a rally to protest against French President Francois Hollande's social reform on gay marriage and adoption. France's constitutional council has rejected a challenge by conservative lawmakers to the country's new gay marriage law, saying the law was constitutional. That means France could see its first gay marriages by the end of May. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus, File)

  • FILE, this May 5, 2013 file image shows anti-gay marriage demonstrators waving flags and holding a placard reading "Dad? Where is Mum?" as they gather in Paris. France's constitutional council has rejected a challenge by conservative lawmakers to the country's new gay marriage law, saying the law was constitutional. That means France could see its first gay marriages by the end of May. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus, File)

  • A young woman takes part in a demonstration against same-sex marriage law, in Rennes, western France, Sunday, May 5, 2013. France's National Assembly approved on April 23, 2013 a bill legalizing same-sex marriage. (AP Photo/David Vincent)

  • People take part in a demonstration against same-sex marriage law, in Rennes, western France, Sunday, May 5, 2013. France's National Assembly approved on April 23, 2013 a bill legalizing same-sex marriage. (AP Photo/David Vincent)

  • A woman shouts during a demonstration against same-sex marriage law, in Rennes, western France, Sunday, May 5, 2013. France's National Assembly approved on April 23, 2013 a bill legalizing same-sex marriage. (AP Photo/David Vincent)

  • FILE, this Jan. 27, 2013 file photo, shows two women posing during a demonstration in Paris backing the government project to legalize same-sex marriage and adoption for same-sex couples in Paris. France's constitutional council has rejected a challenge by conservative lawmakers to the country's new gay marriage law, saying the law was constitutional. That means France could see its first gay marriages by the end of May. (AP Photo/Benjamin Girette, File)

  • People gather during a demonstration against same-sex marriage law, in Rennes, western France, Sunday, May 5, 2013. France's National Assembly approved on April 23, 2013 a bill legalizing same-sex marriage. (AP Photo/David Vincent)

  • A mother with her son in her arms takes part in a demonstration against same-sex marriage law, in Rennes, western France, Sunday, May 5, 2013. France's National Assembly approved on April 23, 2013 a bill legalizing same-sex marriage. (AP Photo/David Vincent)

  • Anti gay marriage activists wave French flags during a rally to protest against French President Francois Hollande's social reform on gay marriage and adoption, in Lyon, central France, Sunday, May 5, 2013. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani)

  • Frigide Barjot leader of the movement against gay marriage, centre, shows a placard as she confronts security staff members during a rally to protest against French President Francois Hollande's social reform on gay marriage and adoption, in Lyon, central France, Sunday, May 5, 2013. The placard says : civil union = civil scam. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani)

  • Anti gay marriage activists wave their flags during a rally to protest against French President Francois Hollande's social reform on gay marriage and adoption, in Lyon, central France, Sunday, May 5, 2013. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani)

  • Anti-gay marriage demonstrators wave flags as they gather in Paris, Sunday, May 5, 2013. France's National Assembly approved on April 23, 2013 a bill legalizing same-sex marriage. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

  • Anti-gay marriage demonstrators wave flags as they gather in Paris, Sunday, May 5, 2013. France's National Assembly approved on April 23, 2013 a bill legalizing same-sex marriage. Banner at the bottom reads "No to gay marriage". (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

  • Anti-gay marriage demonstrators wave flags as they gather in Paris, Sunday, May 5, 2013. France's National Assembly approved on April 23, 2013 a bill legalizing same-sex marriage. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

  • Anti-gay marriage demonstrators wave flags as they gather in Paris, Sunday, May 5, 2013. France's National Assembly approved on April 23, 2013 a bill legalizing same-sex marriage. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

  • A riot police officer is helped after being injured during clashes in Paris, Tuesday, April 23, 2013. France legalized gay marriage on Tuesday after a wrenching national debate that exposed deep conservatism in the nation's heartland and triggered huge demonstrations that tapped into intense discontent with the Socialist government. Within hours, fiery clashes broke out between protesters and riot police. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

  • Plainclothes police officers detain a demonstrator during clashes in Paris, Tuesday, April 23, 2013. France legalized gay marriage on Tuesday after a wrenching national debate that exposed deep conservatism in the nation's heartland and triggered huge demonstrations that tapped into intense discontent with the Socialist government. Within hours, fiery clashes broke out between protesters and riot police. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

  • Riot police fires tear gas toward demonstrators, Tuesday, April 23, 2013 in Paris. France legalized gay marriage on Tuesday after a wrenching national debate that exposed deep conservatism in the nation's heartland and triggered huge demonstrations that tapped into intense discontent with the Socialist government. Within hours, fiery clashes broke out between protesters and riot police. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

  • A riot police officer detains a demonstrator during clashes in Paris, Tuesday, April 23, 2013. France legalized gay marriage on Tuesday after a wrenching national debate that exposed deep conservatism in the nation's heartland and triggered huge demonstrations that tapped into intense discontent with the Socialist government. Within hours, fiery clashes broke out between protesters and riot police. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

  • Anti-gay marriage demonstrators gather in Paris, Tuesday, April 23, 2013. France legalized gay marriage on Tuesday after a wrenching national debate that exposed deep conservatism in the nation's heartland and triggered huge demonstrations that tapped into intense discontent with the Socialist government. Within hours, fiery clashes broke out between protesters and riot police. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)