Same-sex marriage in France

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Same-sex marriage has been legal in France since 18 May 2013.[1] It is the thirteenth country worldwide to allow same-sex couples to marry. The legislation applies to metropolitan France as well as to the French Overseas departments and territories.[2]

A bill granting same-sex couples the right to marry and jointly adopt children was introduced to the National Assembly by the Socialist government of Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault on 7 November 2012, with the support of President François Hollande, who declared his intent to support the legislation during his campaign for the presidency. On 12 February 2013, the National Assembly approved the bill in a 329–229 vote. On 12 April 2013, the Senate approved the bill with amendments in a 171–165 vote, followed by the approval of the amended bill by the National Assembly on 23 April 2013 in a 331–225 vote. However a challenge to the law by the conservative UMP party was filed with the Constitutional Council following the vote.[3][4] On 17 May 2013, the Council ruled that the law is constitutional.[5][6] On 17 May 2013, Hollande promulgated the bill,[7] which was officially published the next day in the Journal Officiel.[2] The first official same-sex ceremony took place on 29 May in the city of Montpellier.[8]

History[edit]

Laws regarding same-sex partnerships in Europe
  Same-sex marriage
  Other type of partnership
  Unregistered cohabitation
  Unrecognized
  Constitution limits marriage to opposite-sex couples

Includes laws that have not yet gone into effect.

Mamère and same-sex marriage[edit]

Noël Mamère at his office of l'Assemblée nationale in 2006

On 5 June 2004, former Green Party presidential candidate Noël Mamère, Mayor of the Bordeaux suburb of Bègles, conducted a same-sex marriage ceremony for two men, Bertrand Charpentier and Stéphane Chapin. Mamère claimed that there was nothing in French law to prohibit such a ceremony, and that he would appeal any challenge to the European Court of Human Rights.[9]

French Minister of Justice Dominique Perben had stated that such unions would be legally void, and called for judicial intervention to halt the ceremony.[10] On 27 July 2004, the Bordeaux court of general jurisdiction declared the marriage null and void. One legal argument defended by the public prosecutor, which, representing the national government, opposed the marriage, was that the civil code speaks several times of a husband and a wife, which implies different genders.[11] On 19 April 2005, the appeals court of Bordeaux upheld the ruling. On 14 March 2007, the Court of Cassation turned down Charpentier and Chapin's appeal.[12]

Reaction[edit]

Shortly after the ceremony took place, Interior Minister Dominique de Villepin instituted disciplinary procedures against Mamère. Mamère was suspended for a month.[10] The local administrative court ruled that Mamère's suspension was legal and motivated. Mamère said he would not appeal the ruling (Mamère had already unsuccessfully tried to obtain an injunction from the court, and then had appealed the case to the Council of State; both had ruled that an injunction was not justified on grounds of urgency).

On 11 May 2004, Socialist Party leader François Hollande announced that he would ask his party to file a draft law which would render such marriages unequivocally legal. Some other party leaders, such as former prime minister Lionel Jospin, disapproved publicly of same-sex marriages. Hollande's partner, Ségolène Royal, said at the time that she had doubts about same-sex marriage, but now supports it fully.[13]

2006 parliamentary report[edit]

A parliamentary "Report on the Family and the Rights of Children" was released on 25 January 2006.[14] Although the committee recommended increasing some rights given in PACS, it recommended maintaining prohibitions against marriage, adoption, and access to medically assisted reproduction for same-sex couples, arguing that these three issues were inseparable and that allowing them would contravene a number of articles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which France is a signatory (although many UN nations do grant some or all of these rights to same-sex couples). Referring to the rights of children as a human rights issue, the report argued that children "now have rights and to systematically give preference to adult aspirations over respect for these rights is not possible any more."[15] Because of these prohibitions, left-wing members of the committee rejected the report.[16]

2011 Constitutional Council decision[edit]

LGBT organizations in France, who believed that the prohibition of same-sex marriage was contrary to the Constitution, asked the country's Constitutional Council to examine the constitutionality of same-sex marriage and to review the articles of the Civil Code. On 28 January 2011, the Council decided that the illegality of same-sex marriages was not contrary to the Constitution, stating that this was a question for Parliament to decide.[17]

2011 bill[edit]

Main article: Bill 586

On 14 June 2011, the National Assembly of France voted 293–222 against legalizing same-sex marriage.[18] Deputies of the majority party Union for a Popular Movement voted mostly against the measure, while deputies of the Socialist Party mostly voted in favor. Members of the Socialist Party stated that legalization of same-sex marriage would become a priority should they gain a majority in the 2012 legislative election.[19]

Cabestany's 2011 same-sex marriage[edit]

On 12 November 2011, Cabestany mayor Jean Vila performed a same-sex wedding ceremony for a couple named Patrick, 48, and Guillaume, 37.[20] The marriage was not recorded in order to prevent a subsequent nullification, and Vila described it as a "militant act": “There are times when it is necessary to act outside the law. Refusing homosexual marriage is to deny the reality of thousands of couples.”

The Paris government's reaction was mixed: junior Families Minister Claude Greff called the event a "provocation on the eve of the presidential election" in 2012, while Solidarity Minister Roselyne Bachelot stated that she supported same-sex marriage but that the ceremony was “not the best way to advance the cause”.[21]

2012–2013 bill[edit]

Main article: Law 2013-404

During his campaign for the 2012 presidential election, Socialist Party candidate François Hollande declared his support for same-sex marriage and adoption for same-sex couples and included them as one of his 60 government engagements.[22] On 6 May 2012 Hollande won the election and promised to pass same-sex marriage legislation before spring 2013.[23] On 17 June, Hollande's party won an absolute majority in the French Assembly,[24] which was followed by an announcement by the government spokesperson Najat Vallaud-Belkacem on Pride Day that the same-sex marriage bill will be adopted in spring 2013 at the latest.[25] On 3 July, in his first speech in front of the newly elected assembly, Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault announced that marriage and adoption for everybody will be a reality "in the first semester of 2013".[26] The draft bill was submitted to parliament on 7 November 2012.[27]

On 2 February 2013, the National Assembly approved the first article of the bill, which sought to legalize same-sex marriage, by 249 votes against 97;[28] the debate took several days as opponents introduced more than 5000 amendments to the bill in order to slow down its passage. On 12 February 2013, the National Assembly approved the bill as a whole in a 329–229 vote and send it to the Senate.[29]

On 4 April 2013, the Senate started the debate on the bill and five days later it approved its first article on a 179–157 vote.[30] On 12 April, the Senate approved the bill with minor amendments, in a 171–165 vote.[31][32] The Senate version of the marriage bill was adopted by the National Assembly on 23 April 2013 in a 331–225 vote.[33][34]

The opposition UMP Party immediately filed a challenge against the law to the Constitutional Council.[35] On 17 May 2013, the Council declared the Act constitutional.[5] The same day, President Francois Hollande promulgated the bill, which was officially published on 18 May 2013,[2] in the Journal Officiel. The first official same-sex ceremony took place on 29 May in the city of Montpellier.[8]

Marriage statistics[edit]

In 2013, following the implementation of same-sex marriage laws in France that went into effect on 29 May, approximately 7,000 same-sex couples legally married in the nation.[36] These unions made up around 3% of all marriages in France in that time, with three out of every five same-sex marriages involving male couples rather than female couples.

Public opinion[edit]

Opinion polls generally show that the French public supports the legalisation of same-sex marriage:

  • A 1996 Ifop poll found that 48% of respondents supported same-sex marriage, with 33% opposed.[37]
  • A 2003 Gallup poll found that 58% of respondents supported same-sex marriage.[38]
  • A May 2004 Ipsos poll found that 57% of respondents supported same-sex marriage, with 38% opposed. Younger people were particularly favourable, with 75% of those under 35 in support. Nevertheless, only 40% were in favour of adoption rights, although 56% of those younger than 35 were in support.[39]
  • A 2004 Ifop poll found 64% of respondents in support of same-sex marriage, with 49% supporting adoption rights.[37]
  • A 2006 Eurobarometer survey found that 48% of respondents supported same-sex marriage being allowed "throughout Europe". This was 4% above the EU average. Support for adoption rights was at 35%, 3% above the EU average.[40]
  • A 2006 Ipsos poll found that 61% of respondents favoured the recognition of civil marriage for same-sex couples.[41]
  • A June 2006 TNS-Sofres poll found that 45% of respondents supported same-sex marriage, with 51% opposed. 36% supported adoption rights for same-sex couples.[41]
  • A June 2008 Ifop poll found 62% of respondents in favour of same-sex marriage, with 38% against. 51% supported adoption rights. Support was very high among younger people, with 77% of those aged between 25 and 34 in favour.[42]
  • A November 2009 BVA poll found 64% of respondents in favour of same-sex marriage, including for the first time a majority of right-wing voters. 57% supported adoption rights (support was 68% among those between 18 and 25 years).[43]
  • A July 2010 Crédoc poll found 61% of respondents in favour of same-sex marriage, while 48% supported adoption rights.[44]
  • A January 2011 TNS-Sofres poll found that 58% of respondents supported same-sex marriage, with 35% opposed. Support was 74% among those under 35 years. 49% supported adoption rights for same-sex couples.[45]
  • A June 2011 Ifop poll found that 63% of respondents were in favour of same-sex marriage, while 58% supported adoption rights for same-sex couples.[46]
  • A December 2011 BVA poll found that 63% of respondents were in favour of same-sex marriage, while 56% supported adoption rights for same-sex couples.[47]
  • An August 2012 Ifop poll found that 65% of respondents were in favour of same-sex marriage, while 53% supported adoption rights for same-sex couples.[48]
  • An October 2012 Ifop poll found that 61% of respondents were in favour of same-sex marriage, while 48% supported adoption rights for same-sex couples.[49]
  • An October 2012 BVA poll found that 58% of respondents were in favour of same-sex marriage, while 50% supported adoption rights for same-sex couples.[50]
  • A December 2012 CSA poll found that 54% of respondents were in favour of same-sex marriage, while 48% supported adoption rights for same-sex couples.[51]
  • A December 2012 Ifop poll found that 60% of respondents were in favour of same-sex marriage, while 46% supported adoption rights for same-sex couples.[52]
  • A December 2012-January 2013 YouGov poll found that 47% of respondents were in favour of same-sex marriage, while 38% supported adoption rights for same-sex couples.[53]
  • A January 2013 Ifop poll found that 60% of respondents were in favour of same-sex marriage, while 46% supported adoption rights for same-sex couples.[54]
  • A January 2013 OpinionWay poll found that 57% of respondents were in favour of same-sex marriage, while 45% supported adoption rights for same-sex couples.[55]
  • A January 2013 Ifop poll found that 63% of respondents were in favour of same-sex marriage, while 49% supported adoption rights for same-sex couples.[56]
  • A February 2013 Ifop poll found that 66% of respondents were in favour of same-sex marriage, while 47% supported adoption rights for same-sex couples.[57]
  • An April 2013 BVA poll found that 58% of respondents were in favour of same-sex marriage, while 47% supported adoption rights for same-sex couples.[58]
  • An April 2013 Ifop/Atlantico poll found that 51% of respondents were in favour of same-sex marriage and adoption rights to same-sex couples.[59]
  • An April 2013 Ifop poll found that 53% of respondents were in favour of the new law allowing same-sex marriage and giving adoption rights to same-sex couples.[60]
  • A May 2013 Ipsos poll found that 51% of respondents were in favour of same-sex marriage and another 29% supported other form of recognition for same-sex couples.[61]
  • A May 2013 Ifop poll found that 52% of respondents were in favour of same-sex marriage and adoption rights for same-sex couples.[62]
  • A May 2013 Ifop poll for Antlantico found that 53% of respondents were in favour of same-sex marriage and adoption rights for same-sex couples.[63]
  • A February 2014 BVA poll found that 61% of respondents were in favour of same-sex marriage and 50% were in favour adoption rights for same-sex couples.[64]
  • An April 2014 BVA poll found that 55% of respondents were in favour of same-sex marriage and 48% were in favour adoption rights for same-sex couples.[65]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hollande Signs French Gay Marriage Law
  2. ^ a b c (French) "LOI n° 2013-404 du 17 mai 2013 ouvrant le mariage aux couples de personnes de même sexe". 18 May 2013. Retrieved 19 June 2013. 
  3. ^ "France gay marriage faces constitution threat but activists upbeat". Gay Star News. 25 April 2013. Retrieved 15 May 2013. 
  4. ^ "French lawmakers approve same-sex marriage bill". CNN International. 24 April 2013. Retrieved 6 May 2013. 
  5. ^ a b (French) Communiqué de presse – 2013-669 DC – Loi ouvrant le mariage aux couples de personnes de même sexe, Constitutional Council of France, retrieved on 17 May 2013
  6. ^ French gay marriage law gets constitutional all-clear
  7. ^ France gay marriage: Hollande signs bill into law
  8. ^ a b After months of protests, French couple ties knot in first same-sex wedding
  9. ^ "First gay marriage held in France". BBC News. 5 June 2004. Retrieved 24 April 2013. 
  10. ^ a b "France suspends gay wedding mayor". BBC News. 16 June 2004. Retrieved 24 April 2013. 
  11. ^ "France annuls first gay wedding". BBC News. 27 July 2004. Retrieved 24 April 2013. 
  12. ^ Petru Clej (14 March 2007). "French gay marriage fight goes on". BBC News. Retrieved 24 April 2013. 
  13. ^ Platiau, Charles (19 January 2006). "France's Royal says supports gay marriage, adoption". The Scotsman. Reuters. Archived from the original on 22 January 2006. Retrieved 9 October 2009. 
  14. ^ (French) "Rapport au nom de la mission d'information sur la famille et les droits des enfants". French National Assembly. 25 January 2006. 
  15. ^ (French) "Preserve Marriage – Links". preservemarriage.ca. 
  16. ^ "Amour Rules in France but Weddings Don't". CBS News. Associated Press. 27 January 2006. Archived from the original on 9 January 2008. Retrieved 9 October 2009. 
  17. ^ (French) "Report of the Decision 2010–92 of the constitutional consil". Conseil constitutionel. 28 January 2011. 
  18. ^ "French parliament rejects gay marriage bill". China Daily. 14 June 2011. Retrieved 15 June 2011. 
  19. ^ "French parliament rejects same-sex marriage bill". France 24. Agence France-Presse. 14 June 2011. Retrieved 14 June 2011. 
  20. ^ "Gay couple, Communist mayor defy French law with same-sex marriage". RFI. 12 November 2011. 
  21. ^ Stephen Gray (14 November 2011). "French mayor performs "militant gay marriage ceremony"". Pink News. 
  22. ^ "Unpopular French President Nicolas Sarkozy Desperately Woos Les Gais". Queerty.com. Retrieved 6 May 2012. 
  23. ^ (French) "Mariage homosexuel : une loi avant le printemps 2013". Le Point. Retrieved 19 June 2012. 
  24. ^ "After Socialists Return To Power, France Prepares For Gay Marriage". ontomag.com. Retrieved 19 June 2012. 
  25. ^ (French) "Une loi sur le mariage gay d'ici un an". Le Figaro. 16 June 2012. 
  26. ^ (French) "Mariage et adoption pour tous les couples: "au premier semestre 2013"". Têtu. Retrieved 3 July 2012. 
  27. ^ "France adopts gay marriage plan despite opposition". Agence France-Presse. Retrieved 7 November 2012. 
  28. ^ "France's parliament approve gay marriage article". BBC News. 2 February 2013. 
  29. ^ The Associated Press (12 February 2013). "France's parliament passes gay marriage bill". CBC News. Retrieved 24 April 2013. 
  30. ^ (French) "Le Sénat adopte l'article qui ouvre le mariage aux homosexuels". Le Monde. 10 April 2013. Retrieved 24 April 2013. 
  31. ^ (French) François Vignal (15 April 2013). "Mariage pour tous : le détail du vote au Sénat". Public Senat. Public Senat. Retrieved 24 April 2013. 
  32. ^ The Associated Press (12 April 2013). "French Senate passes gay marriage bill; Socialist-led measure on track to become law by summer". The Washington Post. Retrieved 24 April 2013. 
  33. ^ (French) "Mariage pour tous : le projet de loi est définitivement adopté (Official French Government website)". gouvernement.fr. 2013. Retrieved 23 April 2013. 
  34. ^ Smith-Spark, Laura (24 April 2013). "French lawmakers approve same-sex marriage bill". CNN. Retrieved 24 April 2013. 
  35. ^ French lawmakers approve same-sex marriage
  36. ^ France sees 7,000 gay marriages last year
  37. ^ a b (French) "Les Français et les droits des couples homosexuels". Institut français d'opinion publique. 10 March 2004. Archived from the original on 26 August 2004. Retrieved 9 October 2009. 
  38. ^ Ford, Peter (27 May 2004). "France joins gay marriage debate". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 9 October 2009. 
  39. ^ (French) "Mariage homosexuel:près de six Français sur dix y sont favorables". IPSOS. 
  40. ^ "Eurobarometer 66 – Public opinion in the European Union" ( PDF (8.7 MB)). European Commission. 
  41. ^ a b (French) "Sondage: 51% des Français opposés au mariage homosexuel". emarrakech.info. 
  42. ^ (French) "Couples homosexuels: Les Français sont pour l'adoption". Le Journal du Dimanche. 27 June 2008. Retrieved 9 October 2009. 
  43. ^ (French) "Un sondage historique: la majorité des Français favorable à l'adoption par des homos". Têtu. 
  44. ^ (French) "L’opinion défend à la fois la liberté individuelle et la cohésion sociale" ( PDF (261 kB)). Crédoc(fr). 
  45. ^ (French) "Une majorité des Français est favorable au mariage des homos". Têtu. Retrieved 28 January 2011. 
  46. ^ (French) "Selon la préfecture de police, il n'y a (presque) pas eu de Marche des fiertés". Têtu. 25 June 2011. 
  47. ^ (French) "Les Français favorables à ce que les homosexuels puissent se marier et adopter". 16–17 December 2011. 
  48. ^ (French) "Sondage: 65% des Français-e-s sont favorables à l’ouverture du mariage pour les homos". Yagg.com. 15 August 2012. 
  49. ^ (French) "Les Français et les droits des couples homosexuels". BVA. 9–11 October 2012. 
  50. ^ (French) "Les Français et le droit au mariage et à l’adoption pour les couples homosexuels". Ifop. 30–31 October 2012. 
  51. ^ (French) "L’Opinion en direct : " Les Français, le mariage des couples homosexuels et l’adoption"". 11–13 December 2012. 
  52. ^ (French) "Les Français et les droits des couples homosexuels". 11–13 December 2012. 
  53. ^ "YouGov / EMEA Survey Results". YouGov. 27 December 2012-6 January 2013. 
  54. ^ (French) "Les Français et le mariage homosexuel". 3–4 January 2013. 
  55. ^ (French) "Les Français et le mariage, l’adoption et la PMA pour les homosexuels". 9–10 January 2013. 
  56. ^ (French) "63% des Français favorables au mariage homosexuel, 49% à l’adoption : légère remontée de l'opinion sur le sujet". 13 January 2013. 
  57. ^ (French) "Débat parlementaire J+10 : hausse de l'adhésion des Français au mariage homosexuel mais baisse sur l'adoption". 4–6 February 2013. 
  58. ^ (French) "Mariage et adoption pour les couples homosexuels". 18–19 April 2013. 
  59. ^ (French) "79 % des Français opposés à la loi sur le mariage homosexuel approuvent la poursuite de la mobilisation". antlantico. 23–25 April 2013. 
  60. ^ (French) "Les Français et les manifestations sur le mariage et l’adoption pour les couples de même sexe après le vote de la loi". Ifop. 26–27 April 2013. 
  61. ^ "Same-Sex Marriage". Ipsos. 7–21 May 2013. 
  62. ^ (French) "Enquête sur la droitisation des opinions publiques européennes". Ifop. 16–29 May 2013. 
  63. ^ (French) "38% des Français opposés au mariage homosexuel pourraient probablement voter pour une liste se revendiquant de la Manif pour tous aux prochaines municipales". Ifop. 22–24 May 2013. 
  64. ^ (French) Les catholiques français et les évolutions de la société
  65. ^ (French) Le mariage et l’adoption pour tous, un an après

External links[edit]