• France's news in English

France sets date for gay marriage approval

AFP · 10 Oct 2012, 15:37

Published: 10 Oct 2012 15:37 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

More than 1,200 French mayors or deputy mayors have signed a petition opposing the government's plans, with many of them warning they will not preside over same-sex ceremonies.

But, in an interview with AFP, Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault insisted there would be no backtracking on a manifesto promise by President Francois Hollande which has also run into strong opposition from the Catholic church.

The text to be presented to Hollande's cabinet will redefine marriage to stipulate that it is "contracted between two persons of different sex or of the same sex," Ayrault said.

The draft legislation will include provision for married gay couples to adopt children but the right will not be immediately extended to unmarried homosexuals, he added.

That question and the issue of gay couples' access to medically assisted conception will be addressed in secondary legislation at a later date.

"After a very broad consultation process that, of course, involved religious leaders, I've made up my mind," Ayrault said. "This is about ensuring fairness and equality that reflects the evolution of our society."

Six bishops in Normandy called for further debate on the legislation.    

"We believe that such a decision, which would represent a turning point for civilisation, cannot rest on the principle of equality and non-discrimination alone," they said in a statement.

Xavier Lemoine, a mayor who has said he will not allow gay weddings to take place in his town hall in the Paris suburb of Montfermeil, said the proposed legislation would be a disaster for society.

"I can refuse to apply the law if the law is tyrannical," he said. "Above all else, I have to respect my conscience."

The mayors' petition against gay marriage is being orchestrated by Jacques Bompard, mayor of the southern French town of Orange and a member of the far-right National Front.

Story continues below…

The 1,200 signatures represent less than one percent of the total number of mayors and deputy mayors in France.

Opinion polls suggest up to two thirds of French voters back the right of homosexuals to marry but they are evenly split on allowing them to adopt.

The further one goes from Paris, the stronger the opposition. A group of mayors on the Mediterranean island of Corsica have vowed they will refuse to carry out gay marriages and the reform is particularly controversial in France's Caribbean and Pacific territories.

Hollande has promised that the legislation will be on the statute books by mid-2013 and there is sufficient cross party support to ensure the government will be able to push it through on schedule.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
France takes baby steps to make life simpler
Photo: AFP

... including extending the ridiculously short time limit for registering a new baby.

IN PICTURES: Calais Jungle camp goes up in flames
All Photos: AFP

Migrants leave behind a scorched camp as they are moved to locations across France.

French expats in UK suffer Brexit abuse
French ambassador to the UK Sylvie Bermann with Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. Photo: AFP

French nationals no longer feel at home in the UK, ambassador says. But Brits in France have been greeted with sympathy since the referendum.

Six to go on trial in France over topless Kate photos
Photo: AFP

The topless pics sparked fury among the royals.

France sees biggest drop in jobless rate for 20 years
Photo: AFP

Good news at last. But it's unlikely to keep President François Hollande in his job.

Calais migrants given mixed reception in French towns
Photo: AFP

Some in France have shown solidarity with their new guests, while others have made it clear they are not welcome.

Lonely Planet says Bordeaux is world's best city to visit
The fantastic new Bordeaux wine museum. Photo: AFP

After The Local France, the Lonely Planet has followed suit by urging everyone to head to Bordeaux in 2017.

Jungle shacks set ablaze and torn down as camp razed
All photos: AFP

IN PICTURES: The razing of the Jungle has finally begun.

Frenchwoman finds WW1 grenade among her spuds
Photo: AFP

It could have been a very explosive family dinner.

Refugee crisis
What rights to a future in France for Calais migrants?
Photo: AFP

What does the future hold for the migrants of the Jungle? Can they work or claim social benefits or travel freely inside Europe?

The annoying questions only a half French, half Brit can answer
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Forget Brangelina's chateau - here are nine others you've got to see
The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
jobs available