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French National Assembly approves recognising foreign civil partnerships

Henrietta Ronson April 29, 2009

France’s National Assembly finally approved of the measure to have foreign civil partnerships recognised in France as PACS in the early hours of this morning.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has 15 days to “promulgate” the measure into law after the Senate passed it last month.

The President cannot veto a measure passed by the National Assembly under the French constitution. He can however pass it back to the Assembly for further consideration.

Article 10 reads in the official English translation: “The President of the Republic shall promulgate Acts of Parliament within 15 days following the final passage of an Act and its transmission to the government,”

“He may, before the expiry of this time limit, ask Parliament to reopen debate on the Act or any sections thereof. Such reopening of debate shall not be refused.”

The passage of the measure in the French National Assembly was welcomed this morning in Brussels.

Both the European Union and the European Parliament had been putting pressure on the French government to recognise the legal status of same-sex couples who had registered their partnerships in different countries.

The non-recognition of foreign same-sex couples by France had been highly contentious among ex-pats from EU countires living in France as those EU countries that have same-sex relationships laws recognise PACS (Pacte Civil de Solidarité).

Before this morning, Britain recognised French partnerships but France did not reciprocate this recognition.

The English-language newspaper The Connexion has previously reported that the proposal to amend the law had been made by Green Party senator Alima Boumediene-Thiery.

It was jointly supported by Green and Socialist senators and was consequently agreed by the whole upper house.

As it stood, the law meant that British couples in civil partnerships who lived in France had to pay heavy inheritance taxes of 60 per cent if one of them died. French couples in PACS did not however have to pay such duties.

Christian Vanneste, a well-known homophobic politician, had tabled an amendment in opposition to the measure but it was dropped after he failed to turn up.

Mr Vanneste represents the Nord constituency and is a member of the Union for Popular Movement. In 2006 he became the first French citizen to be fined 3,000 euros after making homophobic remarks in the National Assembly.

He said that gays were a threat to the survival of humanity, and “morally inferior”. He later repeated his statement to the media.

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