Same-sex marriage could be legal in France as early as next year after President Francois Hollande’s Cabinet approved a draft bill Wednesday. The issue has proven divisive in the primarily Catholic nation, where conservative and religious leaders are vocally opposed.
According to The New York Times, the bill would redefine marriage as “contracted between two persons of different sex or of the same sex,” with the words “father” and “mother”replaced by “parents” in existing legislation. Gay couples would also be able to adopt children, though in France only married couples are currently allowed to do so.
Hollande and his Socialist Party have decided to delay the parliamentary debate about the bill until January, as it will likely be modified or diluted by legislators.
Although polls show that a majority of the French support gay marriage, only half approve of gay adoption. Just two weeks ago, several hundred people staged, strange Mummenschanzian flash mobs in dozens of cities across France, protesting the bill and calling for someone – anyone – to think of the children.
Conservative senator from the Union for a Popular Movement, Serge Dassault, took to the airwaves Wednesday to echo those statements. On the radio show, France Culture, Dassault called the bill “the end of the family, the end of children’s development, the end of education” and “an enormous danger to the nation.”
And here we thought that dyed-in-the wool kind of crazy was made in America.
Roman Catholic, Jewish, Protestant, Muslim and Orthodox Christian religious leaders have also openly opposed gay marriage legislation, with the Roman Catholic archbishop of Paris calling the bill an act of “deception.”
As a result of all this hemming and hawing, the bill does not include state aid for artificial insemination for gay couples, as is available for heterosexual married couples. Some Socialist deputies, however, have vowed to include such aid in a follow-up bill.
Should the bill pass, France would become the 12th country in the world to legalize gay marriage. In an address to the United Nations General Assembly, President Hollande called for the global decriminalization of homosexuality, saying that France would lead in the fight for fundamental human rights. So it’s time to put your francs where your bouche is, France.