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France: Equal marriage bill is criticised for “half-hearted equality”

Joseph McCormick September 15, 2012
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The French government released details of their proposed equal marriage bill this week, and it received criticism from both conservatives, as well as LGBT rights advocates, who said that it lacks fertility assistance, without which, it is not a fair deal.

Justice Minister Christiane Taubira told La Croix newspaper, that the bill: “will extend to members of the same sex the current arrangements of marriage”.

LGBT rights advocates have criticised the announcement by the Socialist Party, saying that without “medically assisted procreation”, such as artificial insemination, the bill doesn’t have much clout.

Judith Silderfeld, editor of LGBT magazine Yagg, told France 24 that her readers were “incensed” by the apparent change of direction. “We didn’t know exactly what to expect [concerning the precisions of the bill], but we had, nonetheless, been promised medically assisted procreation,” she said. “Ms Taubira’s comments on Tuesday threw everyone into confusion.”

Catherine Michaud, head of GayLib, an LGBT movement, also said something similar.

She argued that the process same-sex couples must go through already proves their commitment to parenting. “As a lesbian couple we can’t just wake up in the morning and say, we’re going to have a baby,”

“Without medially assisted procreation, procreation is near impossible. It would be terribly hypocritical for the Socialists to introduce an ‘equality’ bill without allowing us the same parenting rights as our heterosexual peers. Half-hearted equality is not equality.”

Denis Quinqueton, head of the LGBT reflection group, said that he will continue to fight for “the best law possible,” to benefit LGBT people.

Some MPs, the Green Party and the Young Socialist Movement have spoken out calling for an amendment to the bill to include MAP.

The other end of the political spectrum have also spoken out against the bill. The Civitas Institute, linked to the Catholic church, recently launched a campaign against equal marriage, which reportedly cost 100,000€. They released a statement:

“We have six months to ‘readdress’ public opinion; to mobilise the French until they’re out protesting on the streets; and to influence enough MPs and senators until we bring this law down.”

The bill is expected to pass, however, as according to a BVA poll released in August, more than 60% of French people support equal marriage rights, and more than 50% agree that same-sex couples should have the right to adopt.

Prime Minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, had previously announced in parliament that gay couples would be permitted to marry and adopt children in 2013. He addressed members of the Socialist Party, back in August:

“In October, we will send a bill to the National Assembly and the Senate to allow same-sex couples to marry. It would also allow them to form families and adopt children.”

More: adoption, artificial insemination, equal marriage rights, Europe, France, France, LGBT rights, medically assisted procreation, young socialist movement

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