France has always prided itself on its nationalisme. They keep bullshit English words like “cowboy” and “e-mail” out of their beautiful language and are pretty strict about who is and who is not a citizen. Maybe that’s why they refuse to let Paul Augustine and his newborn twins back into the country after their birth through a surrogate in India. After all, kids born in a country with inferior wine aren’t really French, are they?
We first referred to Augustine (not his real name) while covering the similar story of Dan Goldberg. Goldberg languished for months in Mumbai while a homophobic Isreali court took its sweet time issuing him a paternity test to prove he was the father — and not some pedophile engaged in child trafficking. Presumably, Augustine is one of the other gay men we mentioned awaiting in Mumbai a similar resolution. He’s now running out of cash and could lose his sons or face charges if he tries to illegally return to France with them.
Augustine “took the birth certificates [of his sons]… to the French consulate and asked for [their] names to be transferred to the French birth registry, a move that is necessary to get his newborns French passports.” But while Israel denied Goldberg’s kids citizenship because of a paternity test, France isn’t contesting Augustine’s paternity. Instead they’re holding him up because surrogacy is illegal in France and even though Augustine claims to have had a legal surrogacy in India, it doesn’t change the fact that France would normally question a child’s true citizenship in such a birth.
Augustine and his partner of 14 years are hopeful of their ultimate success. Augustine “has heard of past instances where gay fathers from France have faced difficulty taking their surrogate children home” and after weeks of protest by Goldberg’s family members, Isreal finally allowed Goldberg and his sons to return home. But France is no Israel. Sixty-three percent of France is opposed to the idea of gay couples having kids through artificial insemination and that’s apparently reflected somewhat in their laws.
If Augustine wants to get his sons home soon, his friends and families should start making picket signs now.