plastic bouquets

Why Are Straight European Couples Getting Married the Gay Way?

For every three straight couples that get married in France, there are two that enter civil unions originally created for the gays. Why? Because civil unions are marriage-lite: they provide all the tax benefits and fewer headaches if you need a divorce. Which just shows again that as soon as gays create something for themselves (like anal sex and tassel boots) the straights want in on the action.

For the handful of European countries that offer them, pactes civil de solidarite (PaCS) are seen as “a low-risk stepping stone to marriage.” One straight French couple just wanted to pay less in taxes, so they took 15 minutes to get PaCSed and voila!: lower taxes. Though the bride-lite says the paperwork “doesn’t replace marriage. I’d still like to get married one day.”

Oh yeah, lady? So would all the gays in Europe fighting for actual marriage rights.

On one hand, it kinda pisses me off that straights are taking the only option that European gays have in lieu of marriage and treating it like a lower-case m. PaCS are weaker, easier marriages—almost marriages—and their popularity shows straight couples don’t even take seriously the only legal arrangement available to gays.

On the other hand, PaCS popularity also proves straight marriage is a drag, especially since it focuses so much on the woman taking the male surname, combining financial assets, and levying penalties for divorce. If public declarations of love exist merely as a way to financially punish couples that lose their love, why would anyone want them (no matter what they’re called)?

Of course the fogies have started bitching about how young folks see everything as disposable and temporary these days. We might as well start making wedding rings out of biodegradable plastic and putting officiates in convenience stores—but that misses the point. Lovers with kids and shared financial stakes shouldn’t have to get married just to sort out financial and parental legalities; if you and your lover already share those responsibilities, you deserve the tax benefits without the screaming, throwing, and bitter court battles that normally accompany traditional divorce proceedings.

It makes European civil unions seem a heck of a lot more civil than marriage indeed.

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  • Jaroslaw

    So much for the sanctity of marriage. Wish I could think of something better, but still what I say is true. Of course, this data will never each the Christee Crazee website of Worldnetdaily or NOM.

  • Jaroslaw

    sorry that was supposed to be never REACH…..

  • Lymis

    This actually disproves the claim that gay marriage will ruin straight marriage. If they didn’t deny full marriage equality, they wouldn’t have come up with the unions that are turning out to be more popular. The LACK of gay marriage is affecting marriage rates.

  • Wade MacMorrighan

    I gotta’ say, IT PISSES ME OFF too that Europeans are taking the only legal avenue open to our Gay brothers and sisters, and not taking it seriously, and treating it like some hand-me-down without worth! How offensive! I hope that this brings a public debate and discussion throughout Europe as to WHY Marriage Equality is so damned vital!

  • Catherine

    @Wade MacMorrighan: I see no problem with straight people getting civil unions. It’s not that they see them as “hand-me-down[s] without worth”. They see that the civil union is more practical, and more in line with what they’re looking for. What exactly is your problem with it? I think that both avenues should be open to everyone.

    But that’s just me.

  • Luke

    This was an ignorant article, and typifies the lack of knowledge that the writers for Queerty habitually display for matters European.

    1. Pacs are described as “the only option that European gays have in lieu of marriage”. European gays (if it means ‘all’ European gays) includes Spanish, Portuguese, Norwegian, Swedish, Dutch and Belgian gays, all of whom have full marriage equality. Iceland, Slovenia and Luxembourg all have plans to legalise gay marriage in the next year or so. (Also, check this ( out for information on public opinion. An opinion poll conducted in June 2009 by Populus for The Times reported that a significant majority of the British public supported same-sex marriage; 61% agreed with the statement “Gay couples should have an equal right to get married, not just to have civil partnerships” while 33% disagreed.)

    2.I see the way the article talks about European gays as part of a trend; minimise the very real and beacon-like progressiveness of Europe with regard to gay rights. It is quite clear that on the whole Europe is far, far more progressive than the states on gay rights, and on healthcare rights, and on a whole host of other matters. But many people who write comments on this blog seem utterly ignorant about this most salient fact. Please, Queerty, when you next write about say, Britain, indicate that we are not on a level playing field with the USA. Indicate that you are where we used to be. The same goes for Spain, and a whole whost of other European countries. You need to catch up with us.

  • declanto

    @Luke: Sanctity of Marrieage 102. My husband and I entered a Partnership in Norway in ’93. In Feb. this year, we discovered we could change our status to “marriage” via a gov website, the tax authority for cryin’ out loud! We did it, on a Sunday afternoon no less, online. It’s sOOOOO nice to know we’re no longer living in sin! We’re celebrating 30 years together in July. In America, I’m still a second-class citizen, denied my right to marry the one I love.

  • shae

    @Catherine: the civil unions should be eliminated and there should just be marriage, two different types equals seperate but equal and we all know how that turned out….at least in america.

  • declanto

    The religious connotation of approval customarily associated with marriage is historical ballast that should be jettisoned if so desired. I am for both civil and marrital freedom, having been in both relationships with one husband for 30 years. Both. Equal. Now.

  • Catherine

    @shae: Did you not read my entire comment? I said that both options should be open to everyone. Believe it or not, that includes the gay population. There should be no “seperate but equal”. There are pros and cons to both forms of partnership, and for that reason, I can see a place for civil unions. This does not mean that I condone discrimination of any kind.

  • Jaroslaw

    Catherine – why do we need both? If PACS areas indicated here and just a way to pay less taxes without the “headaches” of marriage, I’m leery.

    As to the rest of the comments here, I’m not a European authority, so I’ll only say, Luke, civil unions are second class in the USA. I don’t think anyone here, including Queerty editors for whatever their shortcomings may be doubts that Europe is more enlightened than the USA.

    And again, only for the USA, I agree with you, obviously, Lymis.

Comments are closed.