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France and Homosexuality : Changing Ideas Under Hollande?

France and Homosexuality : Changing Ideas Under Hollande?

For years and years nothing has changed for the gay community in France. Until the day of today, French lesbians and gays cannot marry nor can they adopt children. It seems quite contradictory that the modern and well-developed state of France is lacking behind on this subject. A quick comparison with other EU states shows that both Northern European countries; such as Belgium, the Scandinavian states and the Netherlands have legalized gay marriage; and that France is also more conversative than Spain and Portugal. But how close is France to legalization now the socialists rule the country?

The new government under Hollande is working on several projects to change the law. It must to, if it wants to stick to its promisses. During his presidential campaign, François Hollande repeatedly promised the French to legalize gay marriage and adoption. Put it more strongly, it was the 31rst proposition out of 60 of his presidential pact. The joint idea of Family Minister Dominique Bertinotti and Minister of Justice Christiane Taubira holds that they remove the words “homme-femme” from the current law so that marriage will be open to everyone. The so-called ‘marriage for all’ project will be presented to the Council of Ministers this month. Next to that, there is a discussion going on about the possibility of holding a referendum. Given the socialist effort and the public support, it is quite likely that legalization is close to becoming reality.

Then one note about French conversatism. The people that take France as a gay unfriendly country are to some extent missing the mark. Although not (yet) recognizing gay marriage, it was one of the first European countries to introduce a civil solidarity pact (‘le PACS’) in 1999 that allowed GLTBs to organize their joint life. French socialists claim that it is not France as a country that is conservative towards gay emancipation, but the French Right. And because the French Right has been in power since 2002, no significant progress has been made this decade. It was the socialist François Mitterand that depenalized homosexuality in 1981 and removed it from the list of mental illnesses. It was under the socialist Lionel Jospin that the PACS was introduced in 1999. Will the final step be taken by the socialist François Hollande in 2012? The ideas they are changing.

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About Eline Westra

Master student in Human Rights & Democratisation - Venice, Italy & Thessaloniki, Greece. Passionate about the possibilities of language(s), convinced of the beauty of cultural exchange. Eternally curious.

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