National Assembly Pulls All-Nighter to Discuss Gay Rights Legislation

French National Assembly. Photo: brown

French National Assembly.
Photo: brown

The French National Assembly had a nuit blanche – loosely translated as an all-nighter – from February 3 to Feburary 4 to discuss the gay rights legislation. While the article legalizing gay marriage was adopted on Saturday, February 2, many other aspects of the bill still need to be discussed.

The session, which lasted from Sunday night to Monday morning, concluded at 8 a.m. The issue at hand was the gay rights legislation– a project that French president Francois Hollande has been pushing since his election last year.

Discussion was slow, as the opposition presented countless debates to obstruct the progression of the bill, especially concerning its amendments.

At 2:30 a.m., Assembly president Claude Bartolone voted for an extension on the debates, as there were still 3,712 amendments to consider.

Of particular concern were the amendments on adoption, as well as a section in Article 2 that concerns the devolution of the family name: in the case of disagreement or the lack of a choice from the parents, the name of each parent will be given in alphabetical order. (Currently, the father’s name is given to a child).

Union pour un Mouvement Populaire (UMP) officials have argued against this provision, claiming it perpetuates the obsolescence of the father’s role in a family unit. “What you’re proposing is a revolution, and a masked revolution at that,” said Hervé Mariton of the UMP.

Parti Socialiste (PS) officials disagreed. “What you expect is the erasure of the mother’s role. We’re in 2013,” said Erwann Binnet of the PS.

Also discussed was the issue of medically assisted procreation. Although the issue was not included on the bill as an amendment, it raised questions within the French government concerning yet another bill that would include medically assisted procreation that would surface before the end of the year.

Members of the Assembly expressed their frustration with the session, saying that the same arguments were voiced over and over, some calling the debates mostly “irrelevant,” with many resorting to Twitter, including Olivier Dussopt, deputy of the PS. Multiple suspensions occurred throughout the session, with a final pause at 6:00 AM for breakfast for the members of the Assembly.

Bartolone adjourned the session at 7:54 a.m. There are still more than 3,000 amendments and 12 articles on the table, but it is hoped that all will be finished by Friday.


  1. […] – On February 2, the French National Assembly voted to legalize gay marriage, followed shortly thereafter by Great Britain on February 5. The path leading to the adoption of […]

  2. […] – After many months of battle and 110 hours of discussion, the same-sex marriage debate came to an end on Saturday, February 9, in the French National […]

  3. […] and, if passed, would be a crucial victory for President François Hollande and his government. The bill already passed in France’s lower parliament back in February with a majority of 329 […]

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