Oct 31: Marriage and Adoption for Everybody

Anti Gay Marriage Poster. Example of Scare Tactics Used Against the Law Being Passed
Photo: Flickr.com/ istolethetv

During his presidential campaign earlier this year, Francois Hollande outlined his stance on a number of contentious topics, including the legalization of same-sex marriages and adoption. In June, his Socialist Party gained control of the houses of Parliament and began to promote this issue, which they viewed as an essential part of their new domestic policy.

After the election of his government, Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault stated that on October the 31 of this year, government ministers would present a law concerning the redefinition of marriage.  Henceforth, marriage will be legally considered a “contract between two persons of different sex or the same sex,” Ayrault stated in an interview. The draft will also allow married same-sex couples to adopt children.

The law does leave other questions concerning same sex couples unanswered, such as their right to adopt children without being married and their right to have access to medically assisted conception. The Prime Minister has promised that there will be no backtracking, stating that he has “made up [his] mind,” and further, “this is about ensuring fairness and equality that reflects the evolution of our society.”

In the face of the Prime Minister’s strong convictions, opposition against the new legislation remains strong. Xavier Lemoine is among the strongest opponents of the law. Lemoine, the mayor of Montfermeil, a town outside of Paris, has stated that the law, which he describes as tyrannical, represents a tragedy for society.

Jacques Bompard, mayor of Orange in the South of France and a member of the Front National, has started a petition against same sex marriage. The 1,200 signatures in the petition comprise less than one percent of mayors and deputy mayors in France. Though this may seem insignificant, it is indicative of the mounting opposition to the legislation.

In September, Pope Benedict XVI asked Catholics in France to “defend marriage”. He stated that the institutions of marriage and family had to be defended and promoted against their misrepresentation, which would be to the determent of society. On October 18, the nation’s Chief Rabbi, Gilles Bernheim joined other religious leaders to oppose the legislation, stating, “The argument that marriage is for all those in love doesn’t hold.” He went on to say “[Marriage] is an institution that links the joining of a man and woman with the succession of generations.” Thus the religious opposition for this policy continues to rise.

Consequently, on October 19, the date to present the law was pushed back to November 7, to allow the government an opportunity to address the increasingly vocal opposition. At this point, roughly two-thirds of the French population has stated that they support the proposition for same-sex marriage, but remain unsure regarding the question of adoption.

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