Ironically, PACS are not comparable to Civil Partnerships and have far fewer rights. I think there is confusion for some thinking that if Civil Partnerships are recognised in France, then this would mean that all the rights of these partnershps would also be recognised in France. That’s not the case. France will only recognise those rights within civil partnerships that are reciprocal with PACS. For instance, PACS do not allow same sex couples to adopt, whereas civil partnerships do, among others. There is only one logical way to resolve this by allowing same-sex couples to marry in both countries, in fact the entire EU.
Robert – didn’t you read what the problem was with the person whose partner died – he has to pay 60% inheritance tax and French gay couples don’t. At least it the British civil partnership gets recognised he would not have to go through the burden of having to go to court and probably selling his home to pay for the tax bill. It a huge step if it eventually goes through. Well done France, let hope other countries follow their example
I don’t think Robert was disagreeing or disparaging the good news that France will (hopefully) recognise British civil unions, he was just saying that there are currently three levels of recognition of same sex couples; none, French Pacs and British civil unions, with British couples having more rights than French ones. While it’s great that the French state will afford Pacs rights to British couples, Robert was just warning people not to expect the same rights in France that British couples enjoy. PACS is not equivalent to British civil unions.
Kitty, yes I’m well aware of what the problem was when one of the partner’s died. My point is….recognising British civil partnerships in France is all well and good, the problem is, PACS don’t offer as many rights of civil partnerships and as such don’t benefit a british partnered couple in other areas in which PACS don’t have identical rights. Yes, its great that hopefully other British gay couples living in France won’t be subject to the inheritance tax if their partner dies, to be applauded, but without identical rights in both countries and across the EU in general, its only going to cause more confusion and more legal problems. Since there are now 5 EU countries allowing same-sex couples to marry (Sweden being the 5th come May 1, 2009), it would be far more practical and equal if the rest of the EU followed suit, including the UK. We wouldn’t be having this discussion if that were the case and nobody would be facing inheritance tax problems, among others.
Thanks all for correcting me, but it is a massive step and as far as I can see is in line with the recent Valean report on the proposed new amendments of the free movement of people within Europe and the recent changes that were voted upon in the fundamental rights directive bu Guito Catania on the 14/1. Mutual recognition of civil unions. Lets applaude these changes and encourage more countries to do the same in Europe. We have a long way to go but this is a pretty good start and living in France I and knowing how much they deplore the thought of giving equal rights to same sex couples and making them more and more similar to marriages this is a massive step for foreigners living there.
I’d also like to point out that the vote still has to be passed by the national assembly but since the vote did get full support from the government it certainly looks good. Also there are no details as to whether foreign civil unions would be treated the same as PACS, the amendment of the PACS 515-7-1 simply says that it will produce ‘the amendment aims to allow the production of effects in France of civil partnerships registered outside France. This would abolish the current constraint of cancelling a non-French civil partnership in order to be able to register for a French civil partnership (or PACS) and be subject to its legal regime’ – interpret this as you may. I agree with you marriages would be wonderful and Europe has created a legal nightmare for gay people living and working in Europe. Indeed if the U.K had called the CP a marriage we wouldn’t have had this proble as you say since France uses the Dorit internation prive law for marriage and therefore recognises gay marriages. So we have a sitution where France recognises Duthc gay marriages using this law and will hopefully now use this new amendment in the PACS law to recognise foreign civil unions. However, if the word marriage was ever linked with the word PACS or civil unions at the moment in France we wouldn’t have got no-where ie no civil, legal or social rights whatsoever for foreign gay coupls – tax is only one important issue here!. For instance when I was lobbying Giles Chichester (cons) to sign the writtne declaration for mutual recognition he refused to do this simply becuase the declaration mentioned the word marriage and civil unions together – a matter of principle I think he said – if that’s the attitude that Brits have then it’s far worse in other European countries including France. Lobbying to get marriage as word to be used for gay partnership appears to be an excuse for them to give us no rights at all!. I’d love be in a gay marriage and not a CP but I don’t want to go back to the days when we had no rights at all. At the moment in Europe most EU countries are pretty much against gay marriages. 5 out of 27 isn’t that good.