Socialists hope to make gay marriage an issue in next year’s French election

by on June 19, 2011  •  In Marriage

Last Tuesday, the French Parliament defeated a bill to legalize same-sex marriage. The bill was put forward by the Socialist Party; President Sarkozy's UMP Party led the opposition, though a few UMP members supported it. Now the Socialists are considering whether to make the issue a major part of their campaign against Sarkozy's re-election.

From France 24:

The bill to legalise marriage for homosexual couples in France was introduced by Patrick Bloche, a Socialist member of parliament for Paris, after France’s constitutional court ruled in January that the existing ban on gay marriages was not unconstitutional. While the political left has unanimously rallied behind the bill, the debate in parliament has also helped highlight some divisions in President Nicolas Sarkozy’s ruling UMP party.

UMP member Claude Bodin denounced a bill that he said was meant to stir controversy before the 2012 presidential election. He called Bloche’s text a “response to communitarian demands” and added that homosexuality was a “private issue, which cannot become a standard like any other". But breaking with the majority of their party, a handful of UMP members spoke in favour of the law… 

Since 1999 France, like Britain and Germany, has legally recognised civil partnerships, known as the “pacs” to the French. Last year France saw 203,882 of these civil unions, but less than five percent of them involved homosexual couples.

Activists say the pacs does not afford gay and lesbian households the same rights as marriage. “The protection afforded under the pacs – in terms of the right to reside in a country or custody over children – is not the same as marriage,” explained Gilles Bon-Maury, president of the advocacy group HES (Homosexuality and Socialism)… Bon-Maury said he hoped [marriage] would become one of the key issues of the looming presidential campaign.

François Hollande, the frontrunner in forthcoming Socialist primaries, wrote on his blog that he supported opening marriage to homosexual couples… Supporting gay marriage has become a relatively safe bet for opposition candidates. According to surveys published by French pollsters TNS Sofres and BVA this year, between 58 and 59 percent of French people support allowing same-sex couples to marry.

Centrist Jean-Louis Borloo, a former UMP member who is now threatening to challenge President Sarkozy’s bid for re-election, has also come out in favour of homosexual marriages.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *