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Marriage Equality in France Looking Like Much Less of a Sure Thing

Marriage equality, which a short time ago appeared inevitiable with France's new socialist government led by Francois Hollande, now appears to be much less of a sure thing, the AP reports:

HollandeNow, as the Socialist government prepares to unveil its draft "marriage for everyone" law Wednesday, polls show wavering support for the idea and for the president amid increasingly vocal opposition in this traditionally Catholic country.

And it's not just religious and rural leaders speaking out; top figures within Hollande's own party also are at loggerheads. So the Socialists are dragging their feet, releasing the bill later than planned and delaying parliamentary debate on it until January.

A political hot potato, it has entrenched divisions between urban France, where homosexuality is widely accepted, and rural France, where conservative attitudes hold sway.

Anti-gay noise is being ratched up by rival conservatives as well:

Meanwhile, two prominent conservatives with presidential ambitions are railing against gay marriage as they compete for attention and the leadership of the main opposition party, the UMP. Jean-Francois Cope is calling for mass protests against the Socialists' plans, and Francois Fillon suggested reversing the law if he's elected leader.

All the noise appears to be eroding support for same-sex rights and suggests the bill will be diluted or modified before it reaches a vote. Polls generally still show a majority favour gay marriage, though to a declining degree. And a recent poll by Ifop showed less than half now favour gay adoption, down from more than half in previous polls.

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  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o9tuof7Ifsc
    is a video of the Prime Minister's visit to a young Socialist group on campus. He received a Hero's welcome. He spoke passionately how the party is a party of justice and promised the law will become reality in 2013. They will lose credit with their own party if they reverse course now. That will be political suicide.

    Posted by: simon | Nov 5, 2012 8:56:36 AM


  2. I told ya. Some people act like stuff is inevitable, when the other side never does. They claw, fight, and organize to the very end. They have not given up. Just like the UK and Australia, the proequality side is being punked by a zealous, organized, vocal, unified, and committed opposition. Where are the pro-gay marches and organizing in France?

    Posted by: Javier | Nov 5, 2012 9:05:05 AM


  3. I told ya. Some people act like stuff is inevitable, when the other side never does. They claw, fight, and organize to the very end. They have not given up. Just like the UK and Australia, the proequality side is being punked by a zealous, organized, vocal, unified, and committed opposition. Where are the pro-gay marches and organizing in France?

    Posted by: Javier | Nov 5, 2012 9:05:07 AM


  4. They aren't giving up, Simon, or reversing course. But as we have seen in several other countries, such as Australia, England, the US and now France, when the potential of marriage equality becomes an actual reality, there is ALWAYS backlash. In the US, marriage equality support was at 53% last year and now is around 49-50% this year. France has never been as liberal a country as people think. There is quite a bit of conservatism in the country and as we're seeing, conservatives, older people, rural citizens, the same people who cause problems in the states, are causing problems in France, because they're ignorant and threatened by us.

    Based on everything I've read, marriage equality in France is still very likely to happen but I read there may be concessions to adoption provisions in the marriage bill. Also many rural towns are protesting by saying they will not recognize same-sex couples as married or as parents.

    The PM and all pro-equality legislators in France can't back down now. Now more than ever they have to stand up against the hate.

    Posted by: Francis | Nov 5, 2012 9:28:26 AM


  5. >"Also many rural towns are protesting by saying they will not recognize same-sex couples as married or as parents"

    They can't really. France is very centralized politically and the regions don't have much authority on their own. They can raise taxes and decide how to spend them, but can't write their own laws. Except for some overseas regions, what Paris says goes.

    Posted by: Steve | Nov 5, 2012 9:44:01 AM


  6. Thanks for the info, Steve! And that goes to show that this is all really just the final dying gasps of a vocal minority in France (and other countries worldwide) who see the writing on the wall.

    Posted by: Francis | Nov 5, 2012 11:09:37 AM


  7. Yes, France is highly centralized [like England] compared to the USA, but that doesn't mean people and politicians in the various regions can't protest and raise a storm. Fact is Hollande's honeymoon phase is over. He has many problems with multiple serious issues and many people within his own party are upset with the gay marriage push, thinking it's a distraction and simply gives more ammo to their opponents.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Nov 5, 2012 11:14:14 AM


  8. There's nothing in the article to suggest that marriage will not be the law in 2013. Yes, there's a lot of 'noise'. Yes, there are religious extremists in France..but, no one can honestly say marriage will not be law unless they're trying to be dramatic. Socialists have a large majority and are not the only party who supports marriage. Who cares what politicians from the far right, who have no possibility of being elected, say about what they might do if possibly elected years from now?

    "After the draft law is presented to Wednesday's Cabinet meeting, it goes to the National Assembly for debate in January"

    Posted by: DANA | Nov 5, 2012 11:30:45 AM


  9. It has happened before in France with civil unions and decriminalization of homosexuality.There was fierce opposition. One can imagine a much more difficult environment in that era. I am also optimistic that marriage equality will pass though not so sure about gay adoption.

    Posted by: simon | Nov 5, 2012 12:00:17 PM


  10. All that "noise" can be traced directly back to the Catholic Church. I wish all these Pope-fetishists would keep their religious beliefs out of civil law, here and abroad.

    Posted by: Caliban | Nov 5, 2012 12:17:45 PM


  11. Fact is we are losing here because the anti gay side has been much much more vocal. Gay people in France need to get out and fight for this!

    Posted by: Ken | Nov 5, 2012 12:22:55 PM


  12. This is ridiculous. Hollande has repeatedly said that this is going to happen. The delay was only for a few weeks. And the drop in support was in one poll and it was minor. 58% in that poll support marriage equality and virtually all members of Hollande's party do. Why would he choose to incur huge damage with his own party by breaking his campaign promise in order to placate a minority viewpoint that is popular only with the people who voted against him?

    Dumb reporting by the AP and dumb reporting by Towleroad for mindlessly reposting.

    Posted by: Charles | Nov 5, 2012 12:39:24 PM


  13. Amen Charles! Anyone who thinks Hollande and the PS are going to backtrack on this after making this such a big issue in their election campaign, is crazy.

    Posted by: Michael in the UK | Nov 5, 2012 1:24:20 PM


  14. for those want a referendum on this issue I would argue that they already had one. it wasn't a secret that they wanted this to occur soon, so when you voted for this party you voted in approval of marriage equality.

    Posted by: Luke | Nov 5, 2012 7:47:53 PM


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