France is officially the 14th country in the world, and 9th in Europe to approve gay marriage.
May 18, 2013
On Friday a ruling by the Constitutional Council cleared the way for the French president Francois Hollande to sign the law authorizing same-sex marriage.
The French Civil Union was voted in 1999, and was until today the only legal solution for homosexual couples. However, it did not give any stipulation for adoption.
The government, which is in majority formed by the Socialist Party, introduced a bill on November 17, 2012, the Taubira Law, to legalize gay marriage. Led by the Minister of Justice Christiane Taubira, the law made it through weeks and weeks of heated public debate and protests. However, the French parliament made it possible on the 23th April 2013 with 331 votes against 225.
Francois Hollande was still on hold for the promulgation of the law as the right-wing opposition tried to get an annulment from the Constitutional Council. More than 100 members of the parliament is asking for parts of the law to be censured.
Even though the law has already been voted, the debate is still going on. Anti-gay groups are organizing themselves around a movement they call “Le Printemps Francais” (“The French Spring”, as a reminder of the Arab Spring). The opposition has became more radical and violent than previously. Death threats has been sent to French politicians who stands in favor of the law, gay people and bars have been assaulted.
The French journalist Caroline Fourest, known for her position in favor of same-sex marriage, has been taken as target by anti-gay groups. While she was giving a conference in Nantes 200 anti-gay activists, who blocked her train and tried to force their way through the police force.
While these actions take place the politicians of the right-wing party UMP don’t condemn them and tries to minimize their homophobic nature. Henri Guaino, previous UMP spokesman of Nicolas Sarkozy, turned the situation around, blaming the police of being too violent with the protesters, who were peaceful the whole time.
The president of the Christian-democrat party, Christine Boutin, has declared that gay people have always been free to get married in France. Only not to people of the same-sex.
The debate around same-sex marriage has shown a bitter face of France. Opponents call for a new protest on may 26th. It will be led by the media figure of the anti-gay movement Frigide Barjot, former comedian. She claims they are not homophobes just “mariageophiles”.
Even though some politicians of the opposition claim they will change the law when elected in 2017 the first gay marriage will presumably be celebrated on the 29th of May. Moreover, the polls show that around 60% support the new bill but only 50% approve of gay adoption.
Even though the opponents actions have become more violent this law proves that France still stands for its motto “Liberté, égalité et fraternité”. It gives gay people legal support and sends a strong message against homophobia and any kind of discrimination against minorities.