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Same-sex marriage (SSM) and civil unions

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Brief timeline:

  • 1999: In spite of opposition from the Roman Catholic Church and other social and religious conservatives, the government created a system of civil unions for both same-sex and opposite-sex couples. Although this was intended to give partial equality to same-sex couples, it proved to be a very popular option among opposite-sex couples who viewed marriage as heavily religious in nature.

  • 2011: A bill was presented in the Legislature to legalize same-sex marriage (SSM). It obtained heavy support from the Socialist Party, but did not proceed.

  • 2012- MAY: The Socialist Party achieved control in the Legislature. One of the planks in the party platform was marriage equality.

  • 2012-AUG: A poll of French adults found that 63% favored the legalization of same-sex marriage; 53% favored allowing same-sex couples to adopt. There was near universal opposition to the type of marriage equality promoted by the Socialist Party. Religious and social conservative opposed it because it would give partial marriage equality to same-sex couples. The LGBT and social liberals opposed it because it did not give full equality.

  • 2012-NOV: The French Cabinet approved the wording of a bill to legalize SSM. It would allow married same-sex couples to adopt. However, it would not fund access to medical fertility procedures that are available to opposite-sex couples.

  • 2013-FEB: The National Assembly passed the SSM bill with a healthy majority.

  • 2013-APR: The French Parliament passed the SSM bill. Its constitutionality was challenged in the Consitutional Court. by the main right-wing opposition UMP party.

  • 2013-MAY-17: The Constitutional Court determined that the law to allow same-sex couples to marry and adopt is constitutional.

  • 2013-MAY-18: France became the 14th country to legalize SSM, as President Francois Hollande signed the bill into law that the Parliament had passed in April. It became in effect ten days after signing, on MAY-28. This action also legalized SSM in certain islands in Oceania -- French Polynesia, New Caldonia, and Wallis & Futuna -- due to their political connection with France.

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Topics covered in this section:

  • Part 1: 1999 to mid-2012: Developments in civil unions, and a proposed SSM bill

  • Part 2: Mid-2012: Poll results. Proposed legislation. Reactions to the bill

  • Part 3: 2012-SEP/OCT: Reactions to SSM bill (Cont'd). Organized opposition to bill mounts

  • Part 4: 2012-NOV: Cabinet approves SSM bill. Catholic group sponsors major protest marches

  • Part 5: 2013-JAN: Public demonstrations. 2013-FEB: National Assembly passed part of SSM bill

  • Part 6: 2013-JAN to APR: Public demonstrations. National Assembly and Senate passed SSM bill. Some anti-SSM demonstrations turn violent.

  • Part 7: 2013-MAY: Parliament approves bill. Constitutionality unsuccessfully challenged. Bill signed into law. Suicide triggered. Rise in gay bashing.

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Copyright © 2012 & 2013 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2012-SEP-26
Latest updated: 2013-JUN-11
Author: B.A. Robinson
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