French senate passes same sex marriage bill

Added by on April 12, 2013

French senators pass a same sex marriage bill. The bill faces a second reading next week in the country's National Assembly.

French senators pass a same sex marriage bill. The bill faces a second reading next week in the country’s National Assembly.

In a vote put forward by the Socialists of French President Francois Hollande, the French Senate passed a bill on Friday that supports gay marriage.

The bill faces a second reading in Frances National Assembly next Wednesday. The bill is expected to pass its second reading.

Support for gay marriage peaked when French President Francois Hollande was elected on a campaign that promised a review of gay marriage rights in France. Approximately 48% of French voters supported gay marriage when Hollande was elected.

Among other aspects, the bill gives gay couples the right to adopt children yet are not allowed to use assisted reproduction, such as surrogacy.

Ludovic-Mohamed Zahed, who married his partner in South Africa, says the bill does not go far enough.

Zahed said, “The ideal for me is that people have a choice, so we all have the same rights and that our unions are all recognized by society. I’m less interested in how we call it: PACS, marriage, live-in partnership. What matters to me is that we all have access to the same rights.”

PACS, pacte civil de solidarité, is an official civil contract between two adults of same-sex or opposite-sex that brings rights and responsibilities, yet does not offer the same rights as marriage. People in France who have registered a PACS are not legally regarded, in terms of their marital status, as single. France reported in 2010 that approximately 2% of registered couples are same sex unions. PACS does not have any provisions for adopting children and it does not have any provisions for assisted reproductive methods like surrogacy.

Conservative politicians and religious leaders previously opposed the bill on the basis that it would cause significant issues with the country’s civil code.

Jean-Pierre Raffarin, a Senator for Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) said, “The parliamentary process continues. So we will keep talking with the French people who seem to be changing their minds.”