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Bad New For France's Gay Marriage Bill

* Government had planned to pass law by mid-2013

* But has put off issuing draft text of reform

* Activists accuse president of backtracking on promises

* Some socialists want new law to be more liberal

By Tom Heneghan and Alexandria Sage

PARIS, Oct 22 (Reuters) - Plans by France's Socialist government to legalise same-sex marriage are proving harder to enact than first thought after faith leaders and conservatives mobilised against it even as left-wing deputies try to expand it.

With a solid majority it won last spring, the government originally only planned short parliamentary hearings and a debate early next year before voting on one of President Francois Hollande's most divisive campaign promises and something he has framed as a trademark reform.

But as opposition has grown, it has put off issuing the draft text of the reform and scheduled longer parliamentary hearings. It has also put aside one demand, assisted procreation - or giving gay couples the right to have "test tube babies" - as too hot to handle for now.

"Parliament will take its time," Interior Minister Manuel Valls said on Saturday. "Nobody doubts (the reform) will become law, but all opinions - political, philosophical or religious - will be heard."

Inter-LGBT, a group pressing for full equality on all issues of sexual orientation, has accused Hollande of backtracking on his campaign promises. "The symbolism is strong but they're stopping halfway," said spokesman Nicolas Gougain.

"We thought we would get everything from a left-wing government," said a disappointed civil servant at a debate on gay parenting in the western city of Nantes. "There are still many fights to be fought."

SECULAR ARGUMENTS FROM FAITH LEADERS

Passing the law by mid-2013 as planned would make France the 12th country around the world to legalise same-sex marriage.

Surveys by the Ifop polling group show support for gay marriage has slipped a bit from 65 percent in August to 61 percent now as the public debate has taken off.

Public support for full adoption rights for gay couples, the second part of the planned reform, has also slid from 53 per cent then to 48 percent now.

Sandra Adjedj, 36, a dress designer displaying her wares at a wedding salon in Paris, echoed the ambivalence about adoption rights. "I'm neither for nor against, but why not?" she said. "Most gay couples seem sweet, they like their children."

Leaders of the main religions have led the anti-reform drive using arguments based on the psychological and social damage they say it could cause rather than on religious doctrines.

The majority Roman Catholic Church organised nationwide prayers against gay marriage reform on Aug. 15 and Paris cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois has discussed the issue in private talks with Hollande and Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault.

The Church has also distributed talking points to help Catholics around the country debate supporters of the reform.

Like the position papers by leaders of other faiths, the memo stresses respect for homosexuals but rejects their effort to redefine the traditional institution of marriage.

CONSERVATIVE OPPOSITION

Over 78,000 people have signed a petition sponsored by 41 conservative politicians and intellectuals as well as Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox Christian, evangelical and Muslim leaders.

Conservative mayors have called for a "conscience clause" to avoid presiding at same-sex marriages, which Paris has refused.

In an analysis published last week, Grand Rabbi Gilles Bernheim accused reform supporters of focusing on love and equality to win changes that he said could confuse children's sexual identities and undermine social stability.

Even the state's child benefits agency has criticised the plan to scrap the entries for "father" and "mother" in official records in favour of "parent 1" and "parent 2".

Yet the government is facing loud demands from within its own ranks to go even further and allow newer methods of procreation so that gay couples can have a biological link to their children.

Senior Socialists including National Assembly speaker Claude Bartelone, parliamentary leader Bruno Le Roux and Harlem Desir, the party's new first secretary, want to amend the draft bill to include a clause granting gay couples the right to assisted procreation so they can make "test tube babies."

Senator Esther Benbassa, from the allied Greens party, said she would push for legal recognition of children born to surrogate mothers outside France, where the practice is illegal.

"The government has offered only the minimum," said Socialist Senator Jean-Pierre Michel. "Separating the question of marriage from that of parenthood makes no sense." (Additional reporting by Patrick Vignal and Julien Ponthus; Editing by Andrew Osborn)

by Anonymousreply 5902/02/2013

What do you know? The "s" really is silent in French.

by Anonymousreply 110/23/2012

France is a very chauvinistic, backwards country.

by Anonymousreply 511/04/2012

Part of the problem is that Hollande is a jerk and the government useless so the gay marriage issue is one that they can be easily targetted by their opponents on. Also, French government announcements on the issue of gay marriage tend to be adolescent, which doesn't exactly help strenghten support.

Even so, none of this means the bill won't eventually pass and if anyone thought there would be no opposition then they were naive. But, opposition to full gay marriage doesn't mean there won't be full gay marriage.

R5, I presume they have gay marriage in your country then?

by Anonymousreply 611/04/2012

R6, yes it does

by Anonymousreply 711/04/2012

People (especially American conservatives) like to foist France up as some liberal/socialist haven, but any student of history would know that this simply isn't true. France has always had a large conservative contingency given there ties with the Catholic church. People tend to forget that France, along with Spain, never broke ties with Rome during the Protestant Revolution. In fact, France has a long history of combating Protestant countries.

by Anonymousreply 811/04/2012

Congratulations, r5, you are a citizen of one of the 11 of the 193 recognised countries in the world that has gay marriage.

Of the remaining 182, I doubt France is the most chauvinistic and backwards of them all. Will you still be saying that if they pass the gay marriage bill?

R8, Spain has gay marriage so that kinda weakens your point. It's possible not to let yourself be bossed around by the Catholic Church. Why, Hollande has four children with a woman he was never married to and is now the President (head of government and head of state) of a UN permanent security council member and he isn't even married to his partner.

by Anonymousreply 911/04/2012

Reuters) - France's governing Socialist Party hit back hard at the Roman Catholic Church on Sunday for campaigning against its plan to legalize same-sex marriage, heralding a bruising debate over the issue.

Paris Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois spoke against the proposed law on Saturday and encouraged Catholics to write to their elected officials and take to the streets in protest against the reform due to be voted on by mid-2013.

Opinion polls show that backing for the plan, a campaign promise by President Francois Hollande, has slipped several points since leaders of France's main religions began speaking out against it and now stands at just under 60 percent.

The government is due to present the draft text of the law to the cabinet on Wednesday.

"I'm shocked by this attitude which I think is a kind of return to a fundamentalism that I find problematic," Jean-Marie Le Guen, Socialist senator from Paris, said of Vingt-Trois's speech to bishops in the pilgrimage town of Lourdes.

Party spokesman David Assouline said it was not the Church's role "to oppose the will of the legislature, especially concerning civil marriage in a secular republic."

In his Lourdes speech, Vingt-Trois, who is head of the bishops' conference, said legalizing same-sex marriage would profoundly affect the equilibrium of French society and harm children who would grow up without a father and a mother.

"It will not be 'marriage for all'," he said, citing the slogan of campaign for gay matrimony, "it will be the marriage of a few imposed on all".

If the law passes, France - a traditionally Catholic society where churchgoers are now a single-digit minority - would become the 12th country in the world to allow same-sex marriage.

DIFFERENT TYPES OF FAMILIES

Erwann Binet, the Socialist Party's expert on the issue, said he hoped "the Catholics don't try to impose their vision of the family on the society."

He told the Le Parisien newspaper France now had many different types of families, including homosexuals who are bringing up children. "We parliamentarians should assure that all these forms of family can have the same rights," he said.

He also said that gay couples should have the right to adopt children or to resort to medically assisted procreation, both of which are only allowed to heterosexuals now.

The Catholic Church and France's Jewish, Muslim, Orthodox Christian and Buddhist religious minorities have been especially severe in criticizing the provisions for gay adoption and assisted procreation.

Some Socialist deputies have expressed doubts about including these provisions in the law to legalize gay marriage and it was not clear if the draft text would include them.

Lay Catholic groups organized protests in 75 cities around France last month and plan more in mid-November. Although he encouraged Catholics to join in, Vingt-Trois said it was not his role to lead a street protest.

Some conservative politicians have spoken out in favor of a large street protest in Paris and some mayors, the main officials who celebrate civil marriages, have said they would not preside over ceremonies for gay couples.

Laurent Wasquiez, a leading deputy in the conservative opposition UMP party, defended Vingt-Trois's open criticism of the plan and called on the government to take more time to seek a consensus about any change in the definition of marriage.

"The government wants to rush this through, without taking the time to get everyone around the table," he told France 3 television.

France legalized gender-neutral civil unions in 1999 and almost as many are now contracted every year as traditional marriages. But only four percent of those are among same-sex couples.

(Reporting By Tom Heneghan; Editing by Stephen Powell)

by Anonymousreply 1011/05/2012

ff

by Anonymousreply 1111/11/2012

The Prime Minister has been awfully muted during the antigay backlash.

by Anonymousreply 1211/12/2012

The government approved the bill last week, r12. Keep up with the actual news, not the screaming headlines that are trying to create a "story".

by Anonymousreply 1311/12/2012

R13, the Cabinet approved the Bill, not Parliament. There are still hurdles ahead for it becomes law.

by Anonymousreply 1411/12/2012

What are the odds of the Parliament approving it and what is the timeline for that happening? I would love to hear from anyone more familiar with French politics how this is actually going.

by Anonymousreply 1511/12/2012

The French Senate could be an obstacle too, although leftists control it. You have to had it to the right, they are getting a lot of media attention and polls show gay marriage support plummeting over the last month amongst the public.

by Anonymousreply 1611/12/2012

The provinces are fairly conservative places, especially in the south.

by Anonymousreply 1711/12/2012

The government approved the bill and the government also has a majority in both the Senate and the National Assembley. Gay marriage is a Socialist Party policy. Why would parliament block it?

Polls don't show support for gay marriage plummeting, they show it declining slightly but still with a healthy margin in favour. Sure, we should not get complacent until it is actually law but I don't understand this panicked rush to claim that same-sex marriage in France is about to be derailed when all the real indicators suggest it will pass through parliament handsomely.

by Anonymousreply 1811/12/2012

Actually, I was wrong - latest polls don't show support for gay marriage declining slightly, they show it at about the same level it has been for past months, if not slightly higher (65% in favour with a small majority of 52% in favour of adoption, and adoption is in the draft bill).

by Anonymousreply 1911/12/2012

A poll released last week and tauted in the media showed supported declining into the 50s. The antigay side is kicking the Progay side's butt in the street activism and media attention department, just like in the UK.

by Anonymousreply 2011/12/2012

Another poll released last week shows support at 65%. And so what if it's 58% or 52% or even 48%? This was a well-known policy of the Socialist Party before the elections and French voters knew this would be coming and it didn't stop the Socialists from winning both the presidential and parliamentary elections. Why are you deliberately being so negative?

by Anonymousreply 2111/12/2012

A mayor who said he was gonna perform a samesex marriage has recanted after receiving a flood of angry threats. The French right really is flexing its muscles over this issue. Why is the Progay movement do passive and quiet in France?

by Anonymousreply 2211/12/2012

Most European countries don't really have a strong gay organization presence. Because in general they had more rights/better treatment there wasn't as much pressure to organize and fight.

by Anonymousreply 2311/12/2012

That mayor is a "she", r22, of a small village with 1000 inhabitants, and she probably "backed down" more because the Socialist Party of which she is a member told her to, since same-sex marriage isn't actually legal yet in France and so this marriage ceremony would be legally invalid anyway, and less because of threats. But it always sounds better to cite "threats" when you back away from something.

As she said, “By a mutual accord between the two young women and myself, we have cancelled this civil act that is not yet authorised by law.”

Just accept the fact that France is getting same-sex marriage. Does it gall you to have to admit that the French are doing something admirable?

by Anonymousreply 2411/13/2012

Hollande needs to speak up forcefully and unwaveringly.

by Anonymousreply 2511/13/2012

PARIS (AP) — Groups opposing President Francois Hollande's plan to legalize gay marriage and adoption took to the streets across France on Saturday.

Hollande said he would enact his "marriage for everyone" plan within a year of coming to power in May, but vocal opposition from religious leaders, some politicians and parts of rural France has divided the country.

Saturday's protest, called the "March for Everyone," included pro-family and Catholic groups. Several thousand people marched in Paris, carrying signs with slogans such as "One child (equals) one father + one mother."

Their final destination was the Invalides monument, the final resting place of Napeolon Bonaparte, the French leader who invented the country's prized civil code, which is still in force today. It states that marriage is a union between a man and a woman, a point the gay marriage bill seeks to overturn. Another reform would be to replace the entries in a child's registry book from "father" and "mother" to "parent 1" and "parent 2."

Elsewhere, France's largest demonstrations — estimated to be several thousand people strong — took place in Toulouse and France's second city, Lyon.

The marches Saturday had a dress code of blue, white and pink — putting a spin on the French tricolore flag's traditional colors of blue, white and red.

A recent survey found that most French favor gay marriage, while support for adoption by gay couples hovers at around 50 percent.

by Anonymousreply 2611/17/2012

I told you that France's pro-gay side was weak, and Hollande is crumbling. What a disaster! At least some pro-gay activists are finally waking up from their embarrassing slumber.

The Inter-LGBT said it was "suspending all relations with the government" until Hollande explained "what at best can be termed a clumsy act and at worse, treachery."

Hollande stirred controversy on Tuesday by saying that French mayors could opt out of officiating at gay weddings. He invoked the right to "freedom of conscience" after mounting opposition and a huge rally in Paris Saturday against the proposed "marriage for everyone" law.

Hollande's government has come under fire from Catholic groups and the right-wing opposition over the bill.

Mayors were obliged to apply the law if parliament voted to allow gay marriage, said Hollande: but "their options for delegation to deputies could be widened."

by Anonymousreply 2711/21/2012

When does Parliament vote?

by Anonymousreply 2811/27/2012

LONDON — The pragmatic Dutch should be forgiven for wondering what all the fuss is about.

A decade after the Netherlands legalized marriage for same-sex couples with a minimum of brouhaha, the issue has spurred a fierce and emotional debate in two other European countries, France and Britain.

The disputes focus on plans by the Socialist government in France and the Conservative-led government in Britain to introduce legislation next year that would allow same-sex marriage.

The British government announced its proposals on Tuesday with a compromise that left both sides of the debate unhappy.

The proposed law specifically excludes the established Anglican churches of England and Wales by forbidding them from marrying same-sex couples, while other faith groups such as Quakers and liberal Reform Jews would be allowed to opt into the system.

That is intended to protect a reluctant Anglican Church from being forced into performing gay marriage ceremonies. But it added to what gay and equal rights activists described as the muddle surrounding law reform.

Peter Tatchell, a veteran gay rights activist, told Pink News that the Conservative proposals actually discriminated against heterosexual couples by denying them the right to a civil partnership, the so-called “marriage lite” that has been available to gay couples in Britain since 2004.

The proposed British compromise looked unlikely to quell opposition within Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservative Party from those who reject the concept of same-sex marriage on religious, social or moral grounds.

The right-wing United Kingdom Independence Party has threatened to exploit divisions which it said threatened to rip apart the Conservatives’ traditional rural base.

“We feel the prime minister’s proposals will present an affront to millions of people in this country for whom this will be the final straw,” Nigel Farage, the UKIP leader, told The Guardian.

Mr. Farage may be exaggerating the extent of opposition in a country where opinion polls show a majority in favor of allowing same-sex marriage. But, as in France, the opposition is certainly noisy.

Anti-gay marriage groups staged demonstrations across France in October and November that attracted an estimated 100,000 people. The ruling Socialist Party has decided to fight back by throwing its support behind a counter-demonstration due to take place in Paris this weekend.

Romain Burrell, a journalist for a French gay magazine, wrote in The Guardian, “It’s quite simple. The ongoing same-sex marriage debate sparked a renewed wave of homophobia in France.”

He lamented that the opposition conservative U.M.P. had thrown its weight behind the anti-gay marriage campaign.

The Netherlands, meanwhile, appears to have survived unscathed from 11 years of same-sex marriage.

My colleague Celestine Bohlen, in a report from Amsterdam last week, cited polls that showed support for same-sex marriage increased by 20 points to 82 percent in the five years after the Dutch law was introduced.

As Celestine wrote, “Gay or straight, married, divorced, single or cohabiting, the Dutch — like many other Europeans — have been quietly rearranging their family structures over the past decade.”

by Anonymousreply 2912/12/2012

François Hollande under fire as gay marriage bill divides France

President accused of failing to take a strong stand to force full equality on to the statute book

Angelique Chrisafis in Paris guardian.co.uk, Friday 14 December 2012 07.29 ESTt David Cameron is not the only European leader to be unsettled by the gay marriage debate. The French president, François Hollande, is under fire for his proposals to legalise gay marriage, as street demonstrations illustrate the deep divisions in society. Religious groups and the right have led thousands in protest rallies, while equality campaigners and several leftwing MPs have warned that the law will be shamefully inadequate in not allowing equal gay parenting rights or medically assisted procreation.

The Socialist president had hoped that the gay marriage bill, to be debated in parliament in January, would be a milestone in social progress: a key reform with his name on it, to detract from the negative headlines about the financial crisis. But French society is tearing itself apart over the issue with an intensity that was not anticipated by the government, and Hollande has been accused of not taking a strong enough stand to force full equality on to the French statute book.

While the UK law aims to legalise gay marriage in line with existing rights for British gay couples – such as adoption, assisted procreation and automatic joint parenting rights – in France the scenario is very different. Hollande's law is not just about gay marriage but also adoption for gay couples, which is still illegal in France and remains controversial. The proposed law would only allow gay couples the right to adopt if they were married, not in a civil partnership – a distinction that has rung alarm bells among equality groups.

The law would not give automatic joint parenting rights to gay couples who had a child together, nor would it allow medically assisted procreation or IVF. This would give French gay people far fewer rights than those in the UK, and leave a stark inequality between gay and straight couples which has infuriated many on the left.

Socialists and gay campaigners will take to the streets on Sunday for a demonstration which they hope will counter the outpouring of opposition to gay marriage and adoption from the right and certain key figures in the Roman Catholic church.

Last month, French activists from the Ukraine-based feminist group Femen were attacked with pepper-spray, and hit and kicked by anti-gay-marriage protesters when they tried to disrupt a rightwing march in Paris. Hollande was forced to calm furious gay rights groups after he told mayors they could have a "freedom of conscience" clause allowing them to opt out of performing same-sex marriage ceremonies at town halls. After an outcry within his own leftwing ranks, Hollande backtracked and said his comments had been "inappropriate".

Elisabeth Ronzier, president of the group SOS Homophobie, said: "This is a historic moment because it's the first time a French government is moving towards more equal rights for gay couples and families. But we're not celebrating yet because the proposed law still doesn't give complete equality. We want equal rights to medically assisted procreation. We want legal rights for co-parents – that means full parental responsibility for people raising a child with their partner. We have urged the government not to bow to the pressure of the opposition against this law. We expected some to oppose it, but we've been shocked by the violence of the opposition – and the retrograde, cliche-ridden arguments bordering on insults."

Amantine Revol, deputy president of the association Les Enfants d'Arc en Ciel, for families with gay parents, said: "We're not talking about virtual kids, we're talking about perhaps hundreds of thousands of children currently being raised in gay families in France who need legal rights. What is being proposed is not enough – couples would have to marry before applying to adopt their own children, which could take years. Gay co-parents need immediate legal recog

by Anonymousreply 3012/14/2012

David Cameron is not the only European leader to be unsettled by the gay marriage debate. The French president, François Hollande, is under fire for his proposals to legalise gay marriage, as street demonstrations illustrate the deep divisions in society. Religious groups and the right have led thousands in protest rallies, while equality campaigners and several leftwing MPs have warned that the law will be shamefully inadequate in not allowing equal gay parenting rights or medically assisted procreation.

The Socialist president had hoped that the gay marriage bill, to be debated in parliament in January, would be a milestone in social progress: a key reform with his name on it, to detract from the negative headlines about the financial crisis. But French society is tearing itself apart over the issue with an intensity that was not anticipated by the government, and Hollande has been accused of not taking a strong enough stand to force full equality on to the French statute book.

While the UK law aims to legalise gay marriage in line with existing rights for British gay couples – such as adoption, assisted procreation and automatic joint parenting rights – in France the scenario is very different. Hollande's law is not just about gay marriage but also adoption for gay couples, which is still illegal in France and remains controversial. The proposed law would only allow gay couples the right to adopt if they were married, not in a civil partnership – a distinction that has rung alarm bells among equality groups.

The law would not give automatic joint parenting rights to gay couples who had a child together, nor would it allow medically assisted procreation or IVF. This would give French gay people far fewer rights than those in the UK, and leave a stark inequality between gay and straight couples which has infuriated many on the left.

Socialists and gay campaigners will take to the streets on Sunday for a demonstration which they hope will counter the outpouring of opposition to gay marriage and adoption from the right and certain key figures in the Roman Catholic church.

Last month, French activists from the Ukraine-based feminist group Femen were attacked with pepper-spray, and hit and kicked by anti-gay-marriage protesters when they tried to disrupt a rightwing march in Paris. Hollande was forced to calm furious gay rights groups after he told mayors they could have a "freedom of conscience" clause allowing them to opt out of performing same-sex marriage ceremonies at town halls. After an outcry within his own leftwing ranks, Hollande backtracked and said his comments had been "inappropriate".

Elisabeth Ronzier, president of the group SOS Homophobie, said: "This is a historic moment because it's the first time a French government is moving towards more equal rights for gay couples and families. But we're not celebrating yet because the proposed law still doesn't give complete equality. We want equal rights to medically assisted procreation. We want legal rights for co-parents – that means full parental responsibility for people raising a child with their partner. We have urged the government not to bow to the pressure of the opposition against this law. We expected some to oppose it, but we've been shocked by the violence of the opposition – and the retrograde, cliche-ridden arguments bordering on insults."

Amantine Revol, deputy president of the association Les Enfants d'Arc en Ciel, for families with gay parents, said: "We're not talking about virtual kids, we're talking about perhaps hundreds of thousands of children currently being raised in gay families in France who need legal rights. What is being proposed is not enough – couples would have to marry before applying to adopt their own children, which could take years. Gay co-parents need immediate legal recognition and the automatic right to be named on a child's birth certificate."

Séverine Humbert, 30, an environmentalist, and Klervi le Mestre, 30, a teacher, are in a lesbian civil partnership. They have a daughter, Garance, aged three months, carried by Le Mestre. Because assisted conception by sperm donor is illegal for homosexual couples in France, they had to travel to Spain from their home in Perpignan to use anonymous sperm donation. Humbert said: "It's stressful having to do things on the sly, to go for ultrasounds and checks before conceiving when you can't give the full reason. The financial and psychological cost is high.

"We're accepted as a family everywhere in everyday life; now I just want to be automatically legally recognised as Garance's parent. Under the new law we would be forced to marry before a long adoption process that could take years. If a heterosexual married couple used an anonymous sperm donor, the husband could simply declare himself the father at the town hall and be put on the birth certificate, regardless of having no biological link. As the co-mother of a child, I just want that same right. It's a simple question of equality for all."David Cameron is not the only European leader to be unsettled by the gay marriage debate. The French president, François Hollande, is under fire for his proposals to legalise gay marriage, as street demonstrations illustrate the deep divisions in society. Religious groups and the right have led thousands in protest rallies, while equality campaigners and several leftwing MPs have warned that the law will be shamefully inadequate in not allowing equal gay parenting rights or medically assisted procreation.

The Socialist president had hoped that the gay marriage bill, to be debated in parliament in January, would be a milestone in social progress: a key reform with his name on it, to detract from the negative headlines about the financial crisis. But French society is tearing itself apart over the issue with an intensity that was not anticipated by the government, and Hollande has been accused of not taking a strong enough stand to force full equality on to the French statute book.

While the UK law aims to legalise gay marriage in line with existing rights for British gay couples – such as adoption, assisted procreation and automatic joint parenting rights – in France the scenario is very different. Hollande's law is not just about gay marriage but also adoption for gay couples, which is still illegal in France and remains controversial. The proposed law would only allow gay couples the right to adopt if they were married, not in a civil partnership – a distinction that has rung alarm bells among equality groups.

The law would not give automatic joint parenting rights to gay couples who had a child together, nor would it allow medically assisted procreation or IVF. This would give French gay people far fewer rights than those in the UK, and leave a stark inequality between gay and straight couples which has infuriated many on the left.

Socialists and gay campaigners will take to the streets on Sunday for a demonstration which they hope will counter the outpouring of opposition to gay marriage and adoption from the right and certain key figures in the Roman Catholic church.

Last month, French activists from the Ukraine-based feminist group Femen were attacked with pepper-spray, and hit and kicked by anti-gay-marriage protesters when they tried to disrupt a rightwing march in Paris. Hollande was forced to calm furious gay rights groups after he told mayors they could have a "freedom of conscience" clause allowing them to opt out of performing same-sex marriage ceremonies at town halls. After an outcry within his own leftwing ranks, Hollande backtracked and said his comments had been "inappropriate".

Elisabeth Ronzier, president of the group SOS Homophobie, said: "This is a historic moment because it's the first time a French government is moving towards more equal rights for gay couples and families. But we're not celebrating yet because the proposed law still doesn't give complete equality. We want equal rights to medically assisted procreation. We want legal rights for co-parents – that means full parental responsibility for people raising a child with their partner. We have urged the government not to bow to the pressure of the opposition against this law. We expected some to oppose it, but we've been shocked by the violence of the opposition – and the retrograde, cliche-ridden arguments bordering on insults."

Amantine Revol, deputy president of the association Les Enfants d'Arc en Ciel, for families with gay parents, said: "We're not talking about virtual kids, we're talking about perhaps hundreds of thousands of children currently being raised in gay families in France who need legal rights. What is being proposed is not enough – couples would have to marry before applying to adopt their own children, which could take years. Gay co-parents need immediate legal recognition and the automatic right to be named on a child's birth certificate."

Séverine Humbert, 30, an environmentalist, and Klervi le Mestre, 30, a teacher, are in a lesbian civil partnership. They have a daughter, Garance, aged three months, carried by Le Mestre. Because assisted conception by sperm donor is illegal for homosexual couples in France, they had to travel to Spain from their home in Perpignan to use anonymous sperm donation. Humbert said: "It's stressful having to do things on the sly, to go for ultrasounds and checks before conceiving when you can't give the full reason. The financial and psychological cost is high.

"We're accepted as a family everywhere in everyday life; now I just want to be automatically legally recognised as Garance's parent. Under the new law we would be forced to marry before a long adoption process that could take years. If a heterosexual married couple used an anonymous sperm donor, the husband could simply declare himself the father at the town hall and be put on the birth certificate, regardless of having no biological link. As the co-mother of a child, I just want that same right. It's a simple question of equality for all."

by Anonymousreply 3112/16/2012

French march for gay marriage, but fewer than those opposing the law

Supporters of same-sex marriage and adoption marched through Paris on Sunday to back the French government’s planned reform and counter unexpectedly strong opposition from conservative and religious groups.

Police said about 60,000 demonstrators turned out, fewer than the 100,000 who protested last month against the law due to be passed by mid-2013. Paris’s gay mayor Bertrand Delanoe joined the march along with several other left-wing politicians. The organisers’ estimate, usually higher than that of the police, was 150,000.

Marching along to drumbeats and jazz music, the protesters waved rainbow flags and held up signs saying “liberty, equality, dignity” and “hate is not a family value.” One sign announced “wedding gifts for gays will boost the economy.”

Among their chants was “Oui, oui, oui” (yes, yes, yes) in support of same-sex marriage, adoption rights for gay couples and access to assisted procreation methods such as artificial insemination.

The Socialist government’s bill would legalise gay marriage and adoption, but not assisted procreation. Left-wing deputies plan to add that option to the law, a step President Francois Hollande did not initially support but has now conceded.

by Anonymousreply 3212/18/2012

Local officials in France voice opposition to gay marriage By Edward Cody, Updated: Friday, December 21, 6:51 AM

BLERANCOURT, France—For Patrick Laplace, the mayor of this trim little town, the Socialist government’s decision to legalize same-sex marriage in France is a colossal mistake.

Laplace has not taken his stand for political reasons. He belongs to the Radical Party, a loyal ally of the Socialist majority in parliament. Nor has he decided for religious reasons. Laplace has faith in God but puts no stock in the organized church. His opposition, he said, arises from a rational analysis defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman for family and filiation.

“And I’ve heard no one here in Blerancourt who disagrees with me,” Laplace, a 59-year-old former banking executive, said in his ornate town hall rising from the flatlands 75 miles northeast of Paris.

As President Francois Hollande’s government prepares to have its comfortable majority vote gay marriage into law, probably late next month, thousands of mayors, deputy mayors and other small town officials across France have risen up like Laplace to voice their opposition.

The movement largely ignores political and religious lines, according to its organizers. Instead, they say, it dramatizes another line, one that divides Paris, with its trends and politics, from the countless smaller communities around France where most people remain attached to timeless values in a tradition-heavy society with deep Christian roots.

In some ways, the hesitations in France resemble those in the United States, where the District of Columbia, Maryland and eight other states have approved same-sex marriage but where vast swaths of the country disagree. In what is likely to affect the debate in other states, the Supreme Court agreed this month to review state and federal efforts to limit marriage to a union between man and woman.

But here in France, the battle over gay marriage is being fought in the street and in the press, not in the courts. France being France, it is a battle that revolves around ideas and philosophy, not legalities.

In an unusual display, France’s Roman Catholic, Protestant, Muslim, Jewish and Buddhist spiritual leaders joined hands Nov. 29 to testify against the proposed law before a parliamentary commission. Opponents from several spontaneous groups staged demonstrations in a dozen French cites last month and have promised a giant march Jan. 13 in hopes of delaying the National Assembly vote and forcing the government to hold a referendum.

On the other side, Socialist leaders and gay activists have noted Hollande clearly listed homosexual marriage as part of the program on which he was elected last May, implying it thus has been approved by a majority of the French people. Citing favorable majorities in opinion polls, they describe the issue as a question of human rights, saying there is no reason to deprive gay couples of the same marriage and family enjoyed by heterosexuals.

Moreover, France has fallen behind other progressive European countries, they complain, noting that gay marriage has been authorized in seven European countries, including heavily Roman Catholic Spain and Portugal.

Same-sex couples already can have their union solemnized by law in France under what is called the Civil Solidarity Pact, or PACS by its French intitials. Since it entered into effect under a previous Socialist government in 1999, more than half a million couples have entered into a PACS.

But contrary to what was expected, the overwhelming majority have been heterosexual couples. The goal of gay rights advocates now is to erase the difference altogether, instituting marriage for same-sex couples, with the right to adopt children and, for lesbians, to seek to procreate through artificial insemination.

In that spirit, more than 50,000 mostly young advocates organized a rollicking parade in Paris on Sunday, led by techno-music dancers on a truck bed and a brace of Socialist Party figures talking non-stop into accompanying television cameras. Prominent among Socialist Party leaders at the head of the procession was Bertrand Delanoe, the openly gay mayor of Paris.

But away from the worldly capital, the doubts grow among small-town mayors, whose most sacred duties include donning blue-white-red sashes and performing marriages according to legal formulas stretching back to the Napoleonic Code. In an unmistakable sign of how iconic the role is, Blerancourt, population 1,300, has in its city hall an elegant stairway to a landing where two unmistakable signs of government authority greet visitors: one, pointing left, directs them to the “wedding hall,” and the other, pointing right, directs them to “the mayor’s office.”

The main opposition party, the conservative Union for a Popular Movement, has been largely absent from efforts to head off the new law. Its two main figures, party leader Jean-Francois Cope and former prime minister Francois Fillon, have been locked in a bitter leadership struggle, sapping the group’s strength and leaving the mayors mostly to fend for themselves.

Nevertheless, Franck Meyer, mayor of Sotteville-sous-le-Val near Rouen, said he and other organizers of a group called “Mayors for Childhood” have gathered more than 18,000 signatures from among France’s 155,000 mayors and deputy mayors on a petition demanding that a “conscience clause” be included in the law allowing mayors to refuse to perform gay marriages.

“These are people from right-wing parties, from left-wing parties, and some are not from any party at all,” Meyer said in a telephone interview.

Several members of parliament have said they will introduce an amendment for the conscience clause. But with its absolute majority, Hollande’s Socialist Party has to power to decide.

The law as approved by the government opens the way for gay marriages and adoptions but does not address demands for the right to medically assisted paternity; Hollande has said this will be up to the Socialist majority in parliament.

Meyer said the petitioners have left undecided the question whether they will perform same-sex marriages despite their convictions if the law passes. A small number of mayors have announced publicly, however, that they will refuse.

“I will exercise one way or another my right to stand aside in order not to proceed with such marriages because it would be a profound change to the Judeo-Christian socieity to which I belong,” said Jean Bizet, a conservative senator and mayor of Teilleul in Normandy.

Hollande recently told a group from the National Association of French Mayors that such a clause would be included so no one would be forced to go against his convictions. But several days later, addressing a delegation from a group called the Inter-Lesbian, Gay, Bi and Trans, he seemed to reverse course, saying the law “will be applied everywhere.”

by Anonymousreply 3312/21/2012

January 6, 2013 Gay French Mayor Explains Why He's against Gay Marriage Robert Oscar Lopez

It seems that France can now claim another cultural victory over the United States: not only has the nation succeeded in driving out a cheesy and overexposed actor, Gérard Depardieu (when can we finally unload Matt Damon onto the Russians?), but the French have bettered their American republican rivals in another category: smart gays.

Yes, it's true. The nation that gave us goat cheese, Bourbon revelry, Coco Chanel, and Isabelle Adjani (the illustrious star of Ishtar) takes the gâteau when it comes to gay politics. Whereas in the United States Cynthia Nixon was nearly banished from LGBT citadels for saying she "chose" to start dating women, and she immediately retracted her statement lest Wayne Besen and Dan Savage send an airplane banner over her home saying "You can't pray the gay away!" or target her in a malicious "It Gets Better" campaign, in France, an entire half-dozen well-spoken, gorgeous, and unapologetically intelligent gay men have taken to the internet to explain their heartfelt opposition to gay marriage. They have put up a website called Homovox.

This is important stuff. If France can hold off the national legalization of gay marriage (which seems a difficult fight at this point), then there may be hope for the United States. This is in effect Europe's last stand for the traditional family. What's great about the arguments from Jean-Marc, Jean-Pier, Philippe Arino, and Xavier is their ability to think outside the stilted identity politics that plagues American sexual discourse. It may be that since France did not have the equivalent of a Fourteenth Amendment to redefine its constitutional logic, the French are less likely to fall for hyper-emotional parallels between sexual orientation and race.

Or it may simply be something much more troubling about the difference between the United States and our Gallic neighbors across the sea: their gays are better than ours. Perhaps we need to start an free trade agreement, where we can import some of their Catholic gay mayors like Jean-Marc (translated below), and they can take Rachel Maddow, Claire Potter, and Dan Choi to brainstorm a pro-gay French military. (Maybe with nicer camouflage.)

The French gays of Homovox are luckily focused on the issue of children, which is an issue most often smuggled into the American political process behind the smokescreen of equal rights (with smoke grenades about hospital visitation rights, tax breaks, and being able to move in with their boyfriends in military housing). As the high rabbi of France wrote in a recent missive, "the equal right to have children does not exist." As the son of a lesbian, I've tried to explain the problem to gay activists over and over again, with no luck. Normally gay activists like to remain in confessional mode, where they explain to supposedly ignorant non-gay people "what it's like" to grow up gay. They can't remain in that confessional mode when discussing gay parenting, because almost none of them knows what it's like to grow up as the child of gay parents. As one of the testimonials says in Homovox, "of course I think a child should have a mother and a father; almost all the gay people I know grew up that way, and it would be against the principle of equality to deprive some children of that." Another quote from one of the videos is even better: "Very few gays got civil unions after they were legalized countrywide in the 1990s. This is a militant act designed to satisfy the 5,000 people who live in the gayborhood of Le Marais, Paris."

Below is a(n unofficial) translation of Jean-Marc's video. He's the gay mayor of a small urb in France. My apologies if my French is a little off (I learned the language in a French-speaking town in Maine, close to Québec, where I lived briefly as a teen, so I'm a bit loopy in French.)

JEAN-MARC

I've been living with a [guy] for 20 years. As well, I'm mayor of my village, here in Bergueil[.] ... Speaking of the planned law [for gay marriage], I h

by Anonymousreply 3401/06/2013

By Tom Heneghan, Reuters

PARIS -- French Muslims have begun joining a mostly Catholic-led movement against same-sex marriage, widening opposition to the reform that the Socialist-led government is set to write into the law by June.

Fifty Muslim activists issued an open letter on Monday urging fellow Muslims to join a major Paris protest against the law on Sunday. That followed a similar appeal last Saturday by the influential Union of French Islamic Organizations, or UOIF.

Leaders of almost all main faiths in France have spoken out against the law but not called on their followers to march in Sunday's demonstration to avoid giving the opposition campaign an overly religious tone.

Gay-marriage opponents take to streets in France Advertise | AdChoices

President Francois Hollande and his government clashed with the Catholic Church last weekend, telling Catholic schools not to discuss the law with their pupils and urging state education officials to report anti-gay discussions at Catholic schools.

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"We will protest on January 13 by joining a pluralist campaign to preserve the traditional framework of marriage," the Muslim activists' letter said. "We invite all French Muslims to turn out in large numbers."

The UOIF statement also urged Muslims to join the "March for All", the Paris protest against the reform the government has dubbed "Marriage for All".

"This bill, if it passes, will disrupt family and social structures and civil law dangerously and irreparably," it said.

The Muslim activist letter was signed by intellectuals, business leaders and leaders of several grassroots Muslim groups. It accused the government of using the marriage issue "to mask its ineffectiveness in the fight against unemployment".

More stories from Europe

France's 5-million-strong Muslim minority is Europe's biggest and Islam is the second largest faith after Catholicism.

The government has a comfortable majority in parliament to pass the bill. Opinion polls show almost 60 percent of the French support same-sex marriage but less that half want to let gay couples adopt children, which is part of the reform.

by Anonymousreply 3501/07/2013

Passions rise in France ahead of anti gay marriage protest Posted on 9 January 2013 - 11:00am

PARIS (Jan 09, 2013): Passions and tensions are rising in France ahead of an expected giant weekend rally against the government's plan to legalise same-sex marriage and adoption that has angered influential Catholic and Muslim groups.

France's parliament is to debate the government's "marriage for all" bill early this year -- one of the key electoral pledges of Socialist President Francois Hollande -- which has run into fierce opposition in this predominantly Catholic country where Islam is the second biggest faith.

Preparations for Sunday's rally are gaining steam with protesters nationwide hiring coaches and high-speed trains to gather in the French capital to voice their opposition.

They are also distributing hundreds of thousands of leaflets.

"It's a real wake-up call," said Gonzague de Chanterac, whose blog to rally support for the protest has received 6,000 hits in the month running up to the march.

"We have all rallied around the fact that it is touching a very important link which could destabilise the family," said Rachid Laamarti, who has been among those organising protests on behalf of the Muslim community in the northern city of Lille.

The controversy over the highly divisive issue gained momentum over the weekend after the education minister asked Catholic schools to drop a plan to discuss the bill in schools, evoking France's traditional line of separation of the Church and the state.

Eric Labarre, the secretary general of the national Catholic school system, stirred up a hornet's nest in December by asking teachers to discuss the issue.

He said in a letter that schools should take "appropriate steps to ensure everyone has the right to make an informed decision over the choices the government is considering today".

But Education Minister Vincent Peillon sent a speedy response saying that would not be appropriate, recalling that Catholic schools were "under contract with the state" and "must respect the principle that everyone has the right to neutral and free thought".

France's Catholic schools are all private but receive some state funding and have to follow the national curriculum although they are allowed to impart religious instruction.

Hollande also took the same line saying "Secularism is a Republican value.

"We have to make sure that all ways of thinking are respected and that all religions can be respected," he said.

"But we also have to (respect) the fact that we all live in the same place and that the state as well as both private and public educational institutions adhere to a principle called neutrality."

Labarre however struck a defiant note Tuesday, saying he had not committed any breach by sending out the letter, adding: "I would not change a comma. I don't regret anything."

French Muslim groups are joining in the opposition. The call has been led by the influential Union of French Islamic Organisations (UOIF) which urged co-religionists to join the march.

"This bill, if it passes, will disrupt family and social structures and civil law dangerously and irreparably."

The head of the French Roman Catholic Church, Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois who has been vocal in his opposition of gay marriage, as well as chief rabbi Gilles Bernheim and Muslim Council head Mohammed Moussaoui will not take part in the street protests.

Far-right leader Marine Le Pen will also not be attending but her National Front party has authorised those wanting to take part to do so despite officially taking the line that it was not backing the march.

A nationwide poll by firm IFOP Tuesday showed 60 percent of respondents in favour of legalising gay marriage and 46 percent backing adoptions by same-sex couples. – AFP

by Anonymousreply 3601/08/2013

French Socialist MPs have dropped an amendment legalising medically assisted procreation for same-sex couples in an attempt to undermine opposition to the gay marriage bill that is due to be discussed by the National Assembly at the end of this month.

The Socialist parliamentary group on Wednesday agreed not to table an amendment that would have enabled lesbian couples to have children by medically assisted means after being promised that it will be included in a planned family law. Presidential election 2012

Socialist leaders earlier floated the idea as a possible compromise with religious and right-wing opponents of the bill that would legalise marriage for all, including same-sex couples.

The move comes ahead of a planned demonstration on Sunday 13 January, a follow-up to two previous national mobilisations against the “marriage for all” bill.

Although only evangelical Protestants have officially backed the demonstration, Catholic, Jewish and Islamic leaders oppose the move and have joined previous protests. The mainstream right-wing UMP has supported them, while the far-right Front National has been split over whether to officially call on its members to turn out.

An opinion poll on Tuesday showed 60 per cent of French people in favour of gay marriage, although most considered a “secondary” question, but only 46 per cent in favour of medically assisted procreation.

But the Socialists want to avoid a head-on confrontation with religious groups, remembering that the last Socialist president, François Hollande, backed down on plans to abolish Catholic schools after a million people demonstrated against it in 1984.

“I observe that every time the left is in power the Catholic hierarchy hits the streets,” commented leading Socialist MP Jean-Christophe Camadélis on RFI on Tuesday.

On Friday Education Minister Vincent Peillon called for “the greatest vigilance” against homophobic outbursts after Catholic education chief Eric de Labarre suggested that religious schools might organise debates on the question.

About two million pupils are in private schools, many of the Catholic, in France.

Marriage for all was one of President François Hollande's most publicised campaign promises.

by Anonymousreply 3701/09/2013

Why is this taking so fucking long to get passed?

by Anonymousreply 3801/09/2013

r38, because the opposition is really doing a great job of organizing, uniting, marching, and threatening, while the progay side seems to be in a lethargic funk of silence and passivity.

by Anonymousreply 3901/09/2013

It's not taking a long time to get passed. The bill has aleady been approved by the cabinet and it will be discussed in the National Assembly some time in the next few weeks. There is a lot of other legislation to get through as well, you know.

by Anonymousreply 4001/09/2013

Hollande is not a great leader. When faced with mounting opposition in Spain, PM Zapatero stood firm and eloquently reaffirmed the government's commitment to equality. Hollande's response has been muted and muddled. At times, he has seemed intimidated by the opposition's fervency.

by Anonymousreply 4101/09/2013

Hollande Meets With Chief Rabbi on Gay Marriage Planned French Law Would Allow Same-Sex Nuptuals By JTA Published January 09, 2013.

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Paris — French President Francois Hollande met with local religious leaders, including the country’s chief rabbi, Gilles Bernheim, to hear their views on same-sex marriages.

Tuesday’s meeting at the Elysee Palace, the official presidential residence, was held days before a planned demonstration against a draft law unveiled in November by France’s Socialist government that would allow gay marriage.

At the “informal” meeting, Hollande did not comment directly on the concerns expressed by the religious leaders about the draft law, according to Le Figaro.

He is quoted as telling the guests that he “heard with utmost respect the opinions coming from religious denominations,” that the reform he is planning to lead “concerns only civil marriage” and that it has been approved in a democratic manner.

French officials have said they want to adjust the law to allow single-sex marriage by June.

In an essay published last October, Bernheim argued that plans to legalize gay marriage are being made for “the exclusive profit of a tiny minority” and are often supported because of political correctness.

In “Gay Marriage, Parenthood and Adoption: What We Often Forget To Say,” Bernheim also wrote that homosexual rights groups “will use gay marriage as a Trojan Horse” in a wider campaign to “deny sexual identity and erase sexual differences” and “undermine the heterosexual fundamentals of our society.”

Fifty Muslim activists issued an open letter on Monday urging Muslims to join a major Paris protest against the law on Sunday. That followed a similar appeal Jan. 5 by the influential Union of French Islamic Organizations.

Read more:

by Anonymousreply 4201/10/2013

Pro-gay French comedian rallies against gay marriage By Tony Todd the 11/01/2013 - 15:48

The leading figure in France’s anti-gay marriage movement, which hopes to get 200,000 demonstrators out on Sunday to protest the proposed “marriage for all” law, is an unlikely firebrand for the Catholic and right-wing dominated campaign.

The French anti-gay marriage movement has an unlikely figurehead in the form of a reactionary comedian who goes by the moniker “Frigide Barjot”.

The name – which translates as Frigid Loony – is a play on the name of Brigitte Bardot, the French actress better-known as a symbol of the 60s sexual revolution.

Barjot – real name, Virginie Tellene – is a born-again Catholic whose background belies her role as spokesperson for a movement that has bought a medley of conservative, far-right and Christian groups together to protest the Socialist government’s plans to allow same-sex couples to marry and access to fertility treatment.

Barjot and her supporters hope to get 200,000 out on the streets on Sunday for a France-wide demonstration against the Socialist government’s proposed “marriage for all” law.

Taking up the bizarre pen-name in the 80s as part of comedy and satire collective “Jalons”, Barjot became a household name for organising stunts poking fun at venerable French institutions.

Jalons’ debut “happening” was a protest against the cold during the freezing winter of 1984 at the aptly-named Paris metro station Glacière [meaning “freezer”], ironically blaming the French head of state for the weather conditions with the slogan: “Ice is a killer; Mitterrand its accomplice”.

Since then she has made her name as both a stand-up comedian and as a satirical writer.

Barjot refuses to be branded homophobic, citing her life-long attachment to her first boyfriend, who turned out to be gay, and “25 years working in gay nightclubs”.

“I do not deny gay love and I’ve got nothing against gay culture,” she told right-leaning daily Le Figaro for a portrait published on Friday. “But I cannot condone the introduction of a new type of marriage into France’s civil code.”

Barjot, who has described herself as “Jesus’ press officer”, says she was “struck in the heart” during a music concert at Notre Dame Cathedral in 1987 and has been an ardent Catholic ever since.

Since then she has been an increasingly active defender of the Catholic Church and its values.

In 2009 she set up the “hands off my Pope” movement in defence of Pope Benedict XI amid the scandal of former English bishop Richard Williamson, whose excommunication was lifted despite refusing to renounce views that “Jews are the enemy of Christ.”

According to the Figaro, Sunday’s anti-gay marriage outing will “write her into the history book of the French Catholic movement” – or not, if the event turns out to be a damp squib: "In an era when the church has not one single charismatic character to represent it, she will become either the ephemeral media image of this movement, or Saint Frigid.”

by Anonymousreply 4301/11/2013

Protest against gay marriage: Huge crowds expected in Paris By Tom Heneghan, Reuters

PARIS - Several hundred thousand people are expected to march through Paris on Sunday against the planned legalization of same-sex marriage in the first mass protest against the unpopular President Francois Hollande.

Strongly backed by the Catholic hierarchy, lay activists have mobilized a hybrid coalition of church-going families, political conservatives, Muslims, evangelicals and even homosexuals opposed to gay marriage for the show of force.

So many are expected to converge on Paris from around France that police had organizers split it into three separate columns starting from different points around the city and meeting in the Champ de Mars park at the Eiffel Tower. Advertise | AdChoices

Virginie Merle, an eccentric comedian known as Frigide Barjot, who is leading the so-called "Demo for All," insists the protest is pro-marriage rather than anti-gay and has banned all but its approved banners saying a child needs a father and a mother to develop properly.

"We're all born of a man and a woman, but the law will say the opposite tomorrow," she said last week. "It will say a child is born of a man and a man."

Hollande, who promised to legalize gay marriage and adoption during his election campaign last spring, has a comfortable parliamentary majority to pass the law by June as planned.

But his clumsy handling of other promises, such as a 75 percent tax on the rich that was ruled unconstitutional or his faltering struggle against rising unemployment, has soured the public mood. A mass street protest can hardly help his image.

Marriage or jobs for all? Same-sex nuptials are already legal in 11 countries including Belgium, Portugal, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Norway and South Africa, as well as nine U.S. states and Washington D.C.

Gay marriage opponents such as Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois, head of the Catholic Church in France, have asked why Hollande is pushing through a divisive social reform called "marriage for all" when voters seem more concerned about "jobs for all."

Vingt-Trois spearheaded the opposition with a critical sermon in August. Other faith leaders -- Muslim, Jewish, Protestant and Orthodox Christian -- soon spoke out too.

Avoiding religious arguments that could put off the secular French, they struck a chord with voters by stressing problems they saw emerging from same-sex marriage rather than letting the government shape the debate as an issue of equal rights only.

Opinion polls show reform zeal cooled somewhat once these arguments were heard. Support for gay nuptials has slipped about 10 points to under 55 percent and fewer than half the French now want gays to have adoption rights.

Under this pressure, legislators dropped a plan to amend the draft law to allow lesbians access to assisted reproduction techniques such as artificial insemination that are now limited to heterosexual couples with fertility problems.

Rival march Organizers insist they are not against gays and lesbians, but for traditional marriage. "We are marriagophile, not homophobe," said Barjot, author of a book entitled "Confessions of a Trendy Catholic."

Most national faith leaders will not join the protest, but at least eight Catholic bishops have said they would march.

"I'm happy many Catholics will be mobilized, but this is not a church demonstration against the government," said Vingt-Trois, who plans to go meet marchers but not join them.

Opposition leader Jean-Francois Cope and other conservatives, as well as leaders from the far-right National Front, will march as private citizens without political banners.

Civitas, a far-right Catholic group whose protests have been openly anti-gay, plans a rival march that will run parallel to one of the "Demo for All" columns. Organizers say they will have abo

by Anonymousreply 4401/12/2013

The article reeks of propaganda.

by Anonymousreply 4501/12/2013

It's telling how Quebec is so gay friendly and unconcerned about gay marriage but "motherland" France is looking quite backwards in comparison.

by Anonymousreply 4601/12/2013

Wow, I didn't realize just how conservative France is. If they don't pass gay marriage there, then I will never visit there again. They won't get my tourist dollars.

by Anonymousreply 4701/13/2013

Guess that means no gay person should ever go on holiday to the US then, considering how huge your right-wing conservative, gay-hating movement is.

Moreover, a bunch of idiots screaming as loud as they can isn't going to stop the bill from being passed. At least they're not trying to "cure" gays in France.

R46, why is France looking "backward"? They are about to become the largest and most important country thusfar to pass marriage equality.

Anti-French bigotry must be so strong in the US that you can't even bring yourselves to commend the country when it does something right.

by Anonymousreply 4801/13/2013

[quote]Guess that means no gay person should ever go on holiday to the US then, considering how huge your right-wing conservative, gay-hating movement is.

Please! Us gays in America fight and fight for our rights and it's working. Currently 9 states have gay marriage and that number will only rise. Also, we are a much bigger country, so it will take awhile before all 50 states get gay marriage, but nevertheless, we keep fighting. How many parts of France have gay marriage? Oh, that's right - NONE!

Hard work pays off. French gays need to start standing up for themselves.

by Anonymousreply 4901/13/2013

Oh, please! The bill for gay marriage will come before the French national assembly in the coming weeks and they will vote in favour of it. France will get gay marriage, recognised at government level and throughout the land way before the US. No parts of France have gay marriage because the country isn't divided up into individual states that pass their own marriage laws (did you know that other countries have different political systems than the US? Yes, the US model is not the one followed by the entire rest of humanity, strange as it might seem to you). Hence, once gay marriage is passed by the French parliament, gays throughout the entire country will be able to marry.

And, hopefully then, even you will be prepared to spend you US dollars in France. But, no doubt, you'll find some other excuse to trash those peskie Frenchies.

Opinion polls in France have consistently shown for many years now a solid majority in favour of gay marriage. Opinion polls in the US barely scrape a majority in favour.

by Anonymousreply 5001/13/2013

Don't nobody bring me NO BAD NEW!

by Anonymousreply 5101/13/2013

R50, according to today's Reuters' article, support for gay marriage in France has plummeted to below 55 percent, about where it is in the United States. Unlike the US, the trajectory of popular opinion is downward in France.

by Anonymousreply 5201/13/2013

Reuters says:

"SLIPPING SUPPORT

Support for gay marriage in France has slipped by about 10 percentage points to under 55 percent since opponents began speaking out, according to surveys, and fewer than half of those polled recently wanted gays to win adoption rights.

Under this pressure, legislators dropped a plan to also allow lesbians access to artificial insemination."

by Anonymousreply 5301/13/2013

Sorry guys, but France is getting gay marriage whether you like it or not.

France pledges marriage equality despite protests

By FRANCE 24 14/01/2013 - 08:27

France’s same-sex marriage reform will go ahead despite a massive Catholic-driven rally in the French capital on Sunday which saw hundreds of thousands gather to demonstrate against the marriage equality bill.

France’s same-sex marriage bill will go ahead, French Justice Minister Christine Taubira said on Sunday in response to a massive rally calling for the bill to be scrapped or put to a national referendum.

Hundreds of thousands of people massed at the Eiffel Tower to protest against the Socialist government’s plan to legalise gay marriage and adoption by June.

But the government pledged not to backtrack on its promise to allow same-sex couples the same rights as their heterosexual counterparts.

François Hollande’s office issued a statement saying that while turnout at the rally was “substantial,” the president would not change his determination to pass the reform.

“A referendum on same-sex marriage would be unconstitutional,” Justice Minister Taubira said in an interview on national TV channel TF1. “The constitution stipulates the circumstances when a referendum is possible; here it is not the case. The bill will go ahead.”

FRANCE 24’s Stephen Carroll reported from the march that protesters were hoping with a turnout large enough, the movement could sway to government. Organisers boasted a turnout of some 800,000 people, although police put the number at 340,000.

“The French government says it’s still determined that this law should go through parliament,” Carroll said, adding that protesters calling for a referendum on the issue would likely be met with more disappointment. “The latest survey published on Saturday shows that 56% of French voters support the idea of same-sex marriage,” he said.

Catholics and Muslims united

Protesters waved pink and blue flags showing a father, mother and two children and slogans such as “marriagophile, not homophobe,” “all born of a father and mother” and “paternity, maternity, equality.” Traveling from across the country to attend the march, they converged on the Eiffel Tower from different meeting points in Paris.

“Nobody expected this two or three months ago,” said Frigide Barjot, a flamboyant comedian leading the “Demo for All”. At the rally, she read out a letter to Hollande asking him to withdraw the draft bill and hold an extended public debate on the issue.

Strongly backed by the Catholic Church hierarchy, Barjot and groups working with her mobilised church-going families and political conservatives as well as some Muslims, evangelicals and even homosexuals opposed to gay marriage to protest.

Opponents of gay marriage and adoption, including most faith leaders in France, have argued that the reform would create psychological and social problems for children, which they believe should trump equal rights for gay couples.

Hollande has angered those opposed to same-sex marriage by trying to avoid public debate on the reform and then wavering about some of its details.

His clumsy handling of other promises, such as a 75% tax on the rich that was ruled unconstitutional, and a faltering struggle against rising unemployment have dented his popularity in recent opinion polls.

Protests in Britain and Italy

Same-sex weddings are legal in 11 countries including Belgium, Portugal, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Norway and South Africa, as well as nine US states and Washington DC.

Over 1,000 Catholic clerics in Britain issued a protest letter on Saturday against plans to legalise gay marriage there.

In Italy, the Vatican daily L’Osservatore Romano on Sunday condemned a court ruling against a father who sought custody of his son because the mother now lives with her female partner.

The marches in near-freezing temperatures included young and old protesters, many of them couples with children in tow, in strollers or on their fathers’ shoulders.

[snip for space]

by Anonymousreply 5401/14/2013

Is French really the language of love?

Not if you happen to believe in marriage equality.

At least 300,000 demonstrators took to the streets of Paris, France on January 13, to protest the French president’s plan to legalize same-sex marriage and adoptions.

They traveled from all over France and gathered near the Eiffel Tower, chanting and waving flags and posters.

They presumably do not agree with President Obama, who in his second inaugural speech on January 21 declared: “Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law – for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.”

This is not exactly the image of France as a country of tolerance in matters of the heart: just take the President himself. François Hollande had four children with his partner of many years, fellow Socialist politician Segolene Royal; that relationship ended in 2007, and his current partner is Valerie Trierweiler, a journalist. The President and his First Lady are not married. Can you imagine this happening in the U.S.?

So why the roadblock to marriage equality?

In France, a law legalizing civil unions was introduced in 1999. The PACS (pacte civil de solidarité) can be entered into by gay or straight couples and confers many but not all of the rights of marriage.

From CNN:

Extending the right to marry and adopt to same-sex couples was one of President Francois Hollande’s electoral pledges in campaigning last year.

After his win, the Cabinet approved a draft bill that is expected to go before the National Assembly and Senate soon. It is likely to be voted on in February or March. If passed, it would mark the biggest step forward for French gay rights advocates in more than a decade.

Understandably, the fierce opposition to the same-sex marriage plan has taken President Hollande by surprise. After all, other European countries such as Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands and Denmark have given easy passage to same-sex marriage bills. In the U.S., nine states and Washington, D.C. have legalized same-sex marriage.

What’s going on in France?

From CNN:

In traditionally Catholic France, only a minority of citizens attend church regularly. But Catholic Church leaders have found a voice on this issue, as well as allies among some Muslims, evangelicals, far-right politicians and some gays opposed to the measure. It has united groups that have often been at odds.

The plan faces stiff opposition from the Roman Catholic Church and social conservatives.

Cardinal André Vingt-Trois, the archbishop of Paris, voiced his opposition at a meeting of French bishops in Lourdes last year.

Opening up marriage to same-sex couples “would be a transformation of marriage that would affect everyone,” he said.

The main issue appears to revolve around children: even when they support same-sex civil unions, those protestors in Paris declaimed loudly that same-sex couples should not have the right to adopt or conceive children.

As AP reports, Karl Lagerfeld, Chanel’s veteran couturier, has also weighed in on the issue by sending two models down a catwalk wearing couture bridal gowns. At Paris’ Grand Palais fashion show on January 22, his two females models walked forward holding hands.

The Socialist Party controls Parliament, and therefore could probably ensure that same-sex marriage becomes law. However, the plan’s opponents want a referendum; just like the opponents of gay marriage in the U.S., they are demanding a popular vote on this issue.

What do you think?

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by Anonymousreply 5501/25/2013

The Bill has passed.

France will now have same-sex marriage. Democratically.

So to all the Americans arrogantly telling us how backward and homophobic the French are, please go back to focusing on the backwardness in America, where in most states your rights depend on your courts.

And Brits - be embarrassed - France and Spain are ahead of you again. If the US beats you to it, please stop telling us you are leaders in the world when it comes to human rights and civil rights.

by Anonymousreply 5602/02/2013

R56, the first reading for marriage equality in the UK is Tuesday. But yes, you're right, France is ahead by 3 days.

by Anonymousreply 5702/02/2013

And Spain is ahead by eight years, R57. The Netherlands and Canada even longer.

by Anonymousreply 5802/02/2013

[quote]And Brits - be embarrassed - France and Spain are ahead of you again. If the US beats you to it, please stop telling us you are leaders in the world when it comes to human rights and civil rights.

Britain is a joke. They are nothing more than America's lapdog. They don't do anything until after other countries do it first. Trailblazers they are not.

by Anonymousreply 5902/02/2013
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