By Alexandra Sandacz
Impunity Watch Reporter, Europe
PARIS, France – On Saturday, France’s National Assembly approved legislation that will allow gay couples to get married and adopt children. The Assembly approved the bill despite enormous protests that lured hundreds of thousands of people in Paris to oppose the new proposal.
President Françoise Hollande’s socialist party and their left-wing supporters supported the same-sex marriage provisions. Conversely, the UMP – the party of former President Nicholas Sarkozy – and many centrists MP opposed the bill.
However, despite opposition, deputies voted 249-97 in favor of redefining marriage as a contract between two people, rather than just between a man and a woman.
The same-sex bill celebrates one of France’s biggest social reforms since the abolition of the death penalty in 1981.
Justice Minister Christiane Taubira stated, “We are happy and proud to have taken this first step. We are going to establish the freedom for everyone to choose his or her partner for a future together.”
Christophe Barbier, editor of the influential L’Express weekly news magazine and a supporter of the law, said, “Marriage should be a simple contract between two individuals. Let’s make it available to all couples eager to make this contract to each other.”
However, those who opposed the legislation maintain that their movement is not homophobic. Rather, the legalization of gay adoption breaks down the traditional family, and the legislation that gives gay couples the right to adopt will remove the fundamental right of a child to have a mother and a father.
Spokesman for the anti camp called “manif pour tous,” Tugdual Derville, stated, “We must think of future generations. Not only of the desires of adults today.”
Protestors chant, “Une mère, un mari, un mariage” (One mother, one husband, one marriage).
UMP MP, Philippe Gosselin, believes the legislation is opening a gate of trends of which the French people do not approve. He states, “Today it is marriage and adoption. Tomorrow it will be medically assisted conception and surrogate mothers.”
Furthermore, Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, the Roman Catholic archbishop of Lyon, argued that redefining marriage would “open the door to incest and polygamy.”
Other countries in Western Europe, such as Belgium and the Netherlands, already legalized same-sex marriage. However, France demonstrated the largest disapproval.
For further information, please see:
BBC News – France’s Parliament Approves Gay Marriage Article – 2 February 2013
Expatica – Gay Pride As France Lays Foundation For Same Sex Marriage – 2 February 2013
NBC News – Why Some In Supposedly Liberal France Are Up In Arms About Gay Marriage – 2 February 2013
RT – French National Assemble Approves Gay Marriage Law – 2 February 2013