On Tuesday, April 23, 2013, France became the 14th country to approve a law allowing same-sex marriage. France also passed a law allowing gay and lesbian couples to adopt children (artificial conception methods, however, is still reserved only for heterosexual couples). The successful implementation of these two laws was one of the key campaign promises of France’s current socialist president, François Holland. Though France is well-known for its secular government / separation of church and state, these laws did not pass quietly. The laws themselves passed easily in the Socialist-majority Assembly, 331-225, but the long-lasting national debate exposed the deep conservatism that still exists throughout France. It also triggered huge protests and demonstrations among people representing both sides of the debate in Paris and throughout other regions of France. Just about only half of France’s population, agrees with same-sex marriage and gays’ rights to adopt children. However, France has had a civil union option (PACS-pacte civil de solidarité) for gay and lesbian couples, in addition to heterosexual couples, for the past 14 years.
This same week, both Rhode Island and New Zealand have also legalized same-sex marriage. During the past month, the US Supreme Court also started examining two laws (DOMA and Prop 8) that if, overturned, would perhaps federally legalize same-sex marriage for all people in the United States. Overall, this is a huge movement occurring over many different areas of the world. I myself am so excited to live in a country where full marriage equality is recognized (for I believe that debunking homophobia also debunks sexism). I applaud France and François Holland for addressing and establishing a basic human right.
The world is changing, and I cannot wait for the day that I am able attend the marriages of my dear friends and their partners 🙂