Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Competing narratives in Malaysia Airlines disaster coverage

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Kenya : Police arrest 8 over Mombasa rampage

Read more

FOCUS

Overfishing and the global appetite for bluefin tuna: can Tokyo turn the tide?

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Too many graphic images from Gaza ?

Read more

FASHION

Who's next in Paris, an event with international ready-to-wear and fashion accessories collections

Read more

ENCORE!

Tunisia's Carthage International Festival turns 50

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

Muslims and Christians clean up Bangui, and violence spirals out of control in Algeria's Gardaia

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Is there such thing as 'telegenic' victims of war?

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

2014-07-22 07:21 IN THE FRENCH PRESS

Read more

  • Israel hits targets in Gaza despite diplomatic efforts for ceasefire

    Read more

  • Flight MH17 shot down ‘by mistake', US intelligence indicates

    Read more

  • France gives go-ahead to pro-Palestinian Paris rally

    Read more

  • Video: Lebanon fears fallout from regional turmoil

    Read more

  • Conflicting rulings by two US courts cast shadow on future of Obamacare

    Read more

  • US, European airlines suspend flights to Tel Aviv over Israel-Gaza conflict

    Read more

  • Widodo wins Indonesian presidential election

    Read more

  • French Jews mourn French-Israeli soldier killed in Gaza

    Read more

  • Australian veteran Rogers claims 16th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • PSG punished by UEFA for abuse of disabled Chelsea fans

    Read more

  • Colombia's Rodriguez signs '€80m' contract with Real Madrid

    Read more

  • Children killed in minibus crash in eastern France

    Read more

  • Hollande says French warship delivery will ‘depend on Russia’s attitude’

    Read more

  • A call for harmony in riot-hit ‘Little Jerusalem’ Paris suburb

    Read more

  • Notorious ‘VIP’ prison in Paris closed for renovations

    Read more

France

France accelerates vote on gay marriage

© Photo: Collectif Oui-oui-oui

Video by Karen Creed

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-04-14

After France’s Senate voted Friday to approve a law that would allow gay couples to wed and adopt, the government - in a surprising move – called for a final vote on the bill in the National Assembly next week, much earlier than originally planned.

The French Senate voted Friday to approve a landmark bill granting gay couples the right to marry and adopt, after fierce debate and mass protests from conservatives and religious groups.

The vote, by a show of hands, puts the bill on track to be signed into law within weeks following a second reading and final vote in the National Assembly, where several technical amendments introduced in the Senate are expected to be approved.

In a surprising twist, the ruling Socialists announced Friday that the bill would return to the National Assembly by next Wednesday, April 17 - far earlier than the originally scheduled date of May 20.

Why the hurry?

Following the news, several theories began circulating about why French President François Hollande – currently suffering from low approval ratings and portrayed as largely ineffective in combating France’s economic woes – chose to speed up the process.

“I think his government thinks the debate has already lasted a very long time, and it’s time to wrap it up,” Judith Silberfeld, editor-in-chief of French online LGBT magazine Yagg, told FRANCE24. “I think they also wanted to get the law approved before the next march against marriage equality, planned for May 26.”

Several mass street protests against the law have earned France unflattering headlines abroad and provoked violent incidents both at the demonstrations and throughout the country.

Rights group SOS Homophobie said this week it had registered a 30 percent rise in reports of assaults on homosexuals last year compared to 2011, with a marked surge when debate began in the autumn.

Politicians supporting the bill also reported receiving threatening telephone calls and emails, and being heckled by anti-gay activists at public events.

“The government is also motivated to expedite the process because of the spike in homophobic violence France has seen over the past two or three weeks,” Silberfeld emphasised. “That violence sort of obligates them to precipitate things.”

Opponents of the law have accused the government of seeking to rush the process, with the head of the right-wing UMP's faction in the assembly, Christian Jacob, saying President Francois Hollande was “risking a violent confrontation with the French people” over the bill.

Months of debate and demonstrations

The bill has been largely supported by the ruling Socialists, their allies in the Green Party and the Communists, and opposed by the main opposition UMP and other right-wing and centre-right parties.

Justice Minister Christiane Taubira, who has emerged as a prominent political figure and heroine of the French LGBT movement thanks to her impassioned defence of the bill, hailed the Senate vote. She said it had strengthened French society “by granting the simple recognition of full citizenship to homosexual couples.”

Meanwhile, the head of the Socialists in the Senate, Francois Rebsamen, said: “We are overwhelmed with pride by this vote to move our society forward”.

But opponents slammed the adoption of the bill, with right-wing former prime minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin saying it would cause a “rupture” in society.

France is officially secular but predominantly Catholic, and the debate over gay marriage and adoption has sent hundreds of thousands of people into the streets for pro- and anti-gay marriage protests nationwide.

In January, hundreds of thousands of demonstrators flooded Paris for an anti-gay marriage march, and last month, police were forced to fire tear gas on people protesting the bill and arrest dozens.

Opinion polls have routinely indicated that a majority of French people support gay marriage but that fewer support adoption rights for homosexual couples.

Hollande championed same-sex marriage and adoption during his election campaign last year, and his support for the legislation did not waver throughout the turmoil.

His girlfriend, Valerie Trierweiler, has revealed that the president will be attending the marriages of gay friends once the legislation is on the statute books.

(FRANCE24 with wires)

Same-sex unions around the globe


 

Date created : 2013-04-12

  • FRANCE

    French Senate adopts key article of gay marriage bill

    Read more

  • INTL DAY AGAINST HOMOPHOBIA

    Homophobia in France: Homeless for being gay

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    Gay-marriage opponents claim revolutionary mantle

    Read more

COMMENT(S)