Making good on President Hollande’s campaign promise, France’s Socialist government has unveiled their proposed same-sex marriage and adoption law, which will make the country Europe’s ninth to take this important step. Parliament’s Socialist majority makes passage of the bill (knock on wood) virtually certain in early 2013.Also included in the draft bill are two more key provisions. First, it would grant full adoption rights to gay couples, making France one of the few countries (like its neighboring Spain) to do so. Second, it would remove all references to a “mother” and “father” throughout official documents. This piece of the bill serves as a model for gender-inclusive language, and it may well save some of France’s gay parents from having to endure litigation surrounding birth and death certificates like that in Iowa.
Conspicuously absent from the proposal is any provision for in-vitro fertilization or other assisted reproductive technologies. This disappointing limitation may be an attempt by the Socialists to minimize opposition from the Christian Democratic Party, and many Catholics and other hardline conservatives, who have (predictably) vowed to wage a vigorous campaign against the bill. Lesbian rights advocates have been especially vocal in their criticism of this limitation; hopefully they will be able to prevail upon Prime Minister Ayrault & Co. to correct this deficiency before the bill is formally introduced at the end of October.
Also on the horizon for France is gender identity legislation aimed at easing the official changes in name and sex for transgender individuals. Stay tuned!