French leftists won big in the last legislative elections. The Socialist Party, along with the French Communist Party and the left-leaning Green party, scored 343 seats combined in the 577-seat national assembly. The right-wing party only scored 223 seats, which means they cannot block new laws proposed by the Socialists.
The Socialists have promised big changes this year. Socialist president François Hollande, who won in the presidential election on May 6, made many charming promises, including withdrawing troops from Afghanistan, reducing budget balance, more jobs, and more funds for less developed regions. Hollande also made a promise to pass a law allowing same-sex couples to marry and adopt legally in 2013, an unprecedented step in France. French Prime Minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault recently reiterated his support for gay marriage. The draft is “ready” and the legislation will be implemented “quickly.”
I've always found it ironic how a firm secular state like France, the first nation in history to issue a human rights bill,could resist legalizing gay marriage for so long. French society is not known to be homophobic per se. You might have a hard time expressing your sexual identity freely in some parts of the southern provinces or Parisian banlieues, but the nation as whole is tolerant. Last June, a public poll stated that 63% of the French people were in favor of same-sex marriage, and 55% also supported adoption rights. Yet, the national assembly of France failed to pass the law and lost the vote 293-222, while the right-wing parties were still in power.
There are many obvious reasons why it’s high time France legalized gay marriage. Perhaps, the most convincing is allowing all French citizens equal rights regardless of sexual orientation. If you believe that a minority should be satisfied with something less than the rights you enjoy and feel entitled to, then you’re a bigot. Personally, I’m not against domestic partnerships (PACS), but these partnerships have shown great fiscal disadvantage since their introduction and PACS couples, nevertheless, still don’t have rights to adopt children or inherit their partners unlike heterosexual marriages.
In the video – taped during last year's pride parade in Paris – the lady (who speaks first) speaks of discrimination against LGBT people in the work place in France. She argues that LGBT in France are still subject to “anti-gay bullying (verbal) and insults.” The lady also argues “that discrimination against sexual orientation may translate to salaries and the course of one’s career.”
Adopting gay marriage will help France move forward in its anti-gay discrimination protections. The next generation will become more accepting of gay marriage – if they’re not already – and homophobia will decrease in schools, as young kids will be instructed that all French citizens enjoy equal rights, including the right to marry whomever they think they love, regardless of gender.
If France adopts this new gay marriage bill, it will be the 9th country within the EU to recognize same-sex marriage. Denmark, Belgium, Sweden, Norway, Spain, Portugal, Iceland, and The Netherlands all recognize same-sex marriage already and Britain is likely to join the club soon.
With France moving toward legalizing same-sex marriage, hopefully the EU will follow suit.