• France edition
 
The view from France
Gay marriage: France reacts as UK says 'oui'
"Britain shoots first" reads the headline in Le Point. Photo: screenshot

Gay marriage: France reacts as UK says 'oui'

Published: 06 Feb 2013 15:36 GMT+01:00
Updated: 06 Feb 2013 15:36 GMT+01:00

A historic bill to legalize gay marriage in France is slowly snaking its way through a two-week parliamentary debate with deputies having to pore over more than 5000 proposed amendments.

The marathon discussions, which have driven some bored French MPs to distraction, comes after weeks of mass public protest against the Socialist government's flagship proposals.

In contrast, over in London, British MPs passed their own historic bill by 400 votes to 175 after a two day debate and no mass protests.

A December Yougov poll highlighted similar levels of public support for gay marriage in the two countries, but getting the bill across the finishing line is proving much tougher on one side of the Channel than the other.

'The British voted after two days, we have a load of nonsense'

Socialist party deputy Jérôme Guedj – who was in the news elsewhere today after being caught playing Scrabble during the vote – appeared frustrated with the duration of the French debate.

“Today the British voted for ‘marriage for all’ after just two days. And here we are, ten or so days into this process, with a load of nonsense going on, all to mask the fact that the Right has nothing to really say about this issue,” he told France’s parliamentary TV channel LCP.

In response to such arguments, UMP deputy Claude Goasguen pleaded with his Socialist counterparts, “France is particular when it comes to gay marriage, so please stop pointing to developments in other countries.”

Phillipe Meunier, also a UMP deputy, put it more succinctly: “France is not England. France is France.”

A stark contrast

The French media have also not been slow to pick up on the discrepancy.

Most media outlets noted a clear distinction in both the tone of the public debates in both countries, as well as the relative ease with which the law has cleared the House of Commons.

Reporting the vote in Westminster, French daily Libération noted how it passed with little fuss.

"The story only made the front page of one newspaper, the Daily Telegraph, a sign that same-sex marriage has provoked little public debate," Libération's article read.

The contrast in the two parliamentary debates has provoked a fair amount of soul-searching in the country, with France's Huffington Post questioning the state of French society.

"Is Britain more open than France to be able to accept such a big change to society?"

Many media sites also pointed out the fact that the strongest opposition to the law came from within Prime Minister David Cameron’s own ruling Conservative party, whereas in France  the governing Socialist party are united behind the bill.

“As the French debate becomes even more relentless, the British take the plunge,” said France TV.

“In contrast to France, the debate has not led to popular protests” and has taken place in a “less hostile” climate, said weekly magazine L’Express on Tuesday.

Leftist daily l’Humanité described the political and popular landscape in the UK as one of “general consensus”. 

“Less debate, more flexibility” was the headline on TV channel TV5Monde

L’Express also noted the “fierce opposition from a significant fringe of the Conservative party.”

Dan MacGuill (dan.macguill@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
French MPs poised to get powers to sack president
President may soon face a new threat in France. Photo: Fred Tanneau/AFP

French MPs poised to get powers to sack president

As if President François Hollande didn’t have enough to worry about, French lawmakers backed a measure this week that would allow them to legally sack the president in case of a “serious breach of duties”. READ  

Transparency: 'France lags far behind UK, US'
There is a certain lack of transparency in France compared to other countries, says Transparency International. Photo: Eric Feferberg/AFP

Transparency: 'France lags far behind UK, US'

A new study out this week slammed France for totally inadequate controls on lobbyists. The president of the group behind the report tells The Local how France is lagging in transparency and is playing catch up with other nations. READ  

IN PICTURES
French property face-off: The Vendée vs Limousin
The old barn or the old mill? What would you spend your money on? Photo: Leggett

French property face-off: The Vendée vs Limousin

Would you prefer a converted mill in the Vendée or a renovated barn in the Limousin region of France? Take a look at these two very different revamped properties in France that are on the market and decide what would you rather spend your money on. READ  

'Sixty French lawmakers file suspect tax returns'
French lawmakers could be in big trouble with the taxman. Photo: AFP

'Sixty French lawmakers file suspect tax returns'

In what could end up a major tax scandal in France some 60 French lawmakers are in trouble with the taxman after their financial disclosures to the public didn’t quite match up with what they’d declared to authorities, according to media reports. READ  

Tour de France 2015: Five crucial stages
The 2015 Tour de France route. Image: Le Tour.fr

Tour de France 2015: Five crucial stages

Here's a look at the key stages in the 2015 Tour de France after the route was unveiled in Paris on Wednesday. Look out for the Alpe d'Huez on the penultimate day. READ  

Discover the route of the 2015 Tour de France
The famous Alpe de Huez climb, which will be climbed on the penultimate stage of the 2015 race. Photo: AFP

Discover the route of the 2015 Tour de France

The route of the 2015 Tour de France was unveiled on Wednesday with one of the major surprises being the penultimate day of racing, which will see the peloton climb the mythical Alpe d'Huez in the French Alps. READ  

French Socialist party rift breaks into war of words
President François Hollande's first government feel a long time ago, with ousted ministers now in an open war of words with Socialist Party chiefs. Photo: AFP

French Socialist party rift breaks into war of words

Splits plaguing France's ruling party came to the fore on Wednesday as ousted ministers and allies of embattled President Francois Hollande engaged in a very public war of words. READ  

Paris Opera lays down rules over Muslim veils
Paris Opera has reminded staff not to allow anyone enter the building if their face is covered. Photo: Panoramas/Flickr - Miguel Medina/AFP

Paris Opera lays down rules over Muslim veils

The management at Paris Opera have issued a memo to staff not to allow entry to anyone whose face is covered. It comes after a Muslim woman was asked to leave a performance of La Traviata earlier this month after she was spotted wearing a niqab face veil. READ  

Calais: Mass migrant fight leaves dozens hurt
The migrant crisis in Calais is becoming increasingly violent and disruptive. Photo: AFP

Calais: Mass migrant fight leaves dozens hurt

Tensions were high in Calais on Tuesday night after police were forced to seal off a district in the port town after a mass brawl between migrants from Ethiopia and Eritrea, left dozens injured. READ  

Paris: Luxury hotel staff strike for better pay
A protester joins members of the CGT union gathering on October 7, 2014 in front of the Royal Monceau hotel. Photo: Joel SAget

Paris: Luxury hotel staff strike for better pay

A rebellion among hotel workers at some of Paris's luxury hotels continued this week with staff at the deluxe Royal Monceau-Raffles - where the presidential suite costs €25,000 a night - staging a walk-out to protest over their low wages. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Sport
Discover the route of the 2015 Tour de France. There are a few surprises
Gallery
Ten changes that would make learning French so much easier
Culture
IN PICTURES: 'Glass ship' Vuitton ready to set sail in Paris
International
How a giant 'sex toy' earned an American artist a slap in Paris
National
'Unlike in the US the French don't put the blame on the poor'
Gallery
Cover up and don't be too Latin: French travel warnings for the US
Society
Macholand: The online uprising against sexism in France
Gallery
In pictures: The daily life of the 2,000 migrants in Calais
Culture
Erotic promo video earns the Musée d'Orsay our "Only in France" award
International
'I love the UK, but I could die getting there': Struggles of Calais migrants
National
Seven reasons why everyone should work in a bar in France
National
The cost of expat home comforts: How France compares to Europe
International
Why don't Calais migrants stay in France? The Local went to find out
National
What are the pros and cons of working as an au pair in France?
Society
Is France's generous welfare state about to get a little stingier?
Gallery
Extraordinary images of ordinary life in the poor Paris suburbs
Gallery
10 things expats love and loathe about life in France
National
So why don't many women in France breastfeed?
National
'Stop bashing La Belle France' - French PM tells UK press
International
UK warns Brits of 'high threat' from terrorism' in France
National
VIDEO: 'The Kama Sutra is not a dirty little text'
National
What Rome could teach Paris and vice versa
Gallery
What do foreign countries warn their citizens about when visiting France?
Gallery
IN IMAGES: Eiffel Tower opens new glass floor above Paris
Society
Is it really better to grow old in the UK and the US rather than France?
Gallery
It's that time if the year again: French sportsmen reveal (almost) all
Gallery
So what do the French find really weird about Anglos?
Travel
Paris museums to open seven days a week but unions are not happy
Culture
Caption contest: What happened when Jay Z met Sark O?
International
This explains why the French never seem to get a sense of déjà vu?
National
VIDEO: Here's a view from the Eiffel Tower you haven't seen before
Travel
Do Paris's iconic rooftops deserve Unesco World Heritage status?
Opinion
'France cannot reform, the pilots' strike showed us this'
National
'We just don’t work hard enough in France.' Is that true?
International
France has moved to beef up security in various public places
National
Hiking naked in France does not come risk-free
Culture
10 French customs that confuse Anglos
National
IN PICTURES: A look inside France's 'most notorious' prison
International
Isis urges killing of 'spiteful, dirty' French
National
Paris installs new device to stop 'love lock' craze
National
Paris cabby dies in vicious high-heel attack
National
'Paris is a sexy city, its beauty is inspiring'
Culture
Depardieu: ‘I drink 14 bottles of booze a day’
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

651
jobs available