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04/19/2007


France Approves First Gay Adoption

FrOn May 18 this year, France became the 14th country to legalize same-sex marriage. At the heart of France's marriage debate was the issue of gay adoption as the legislation in question legalized not only gay marriage but also gay adoption. After the bill was signed into law by French President Francois Hollande, hundreds of thousands took to the streets of Paris to protest marriage equality and the prospect of gay couples being allowed to adopt. Though it has been five months since marriage equality came to France, this week saw the country's first adoption by same-sex spouses. Time reports:

A couple being identified in local media reports as Caroline and Pascale A. were married in June, and on Thursday received approval for one wife’s two biological children, Laure and Lise, to be adopted by the other wife, Le Monde reports. Both children are reportedly the result of artificial insemination by an unknown donor or donors.

The announcement was celebrated by the Association of Gay and Lesbian Parents and Future Parents, which said that from now on, children may hear in school hallways, “Two moms or two dads, it’s possible!”

As previously reported, though same-sex French couples may be able to adopt domestically, they may not be able to adopt Russian children because of Russia's dissatisfaction with France's gay marriage law.


Same-Sex Couples Will Have Equal Access to Fertility Coverage Under New California Law

Flag_of_California.svg

This Tuesday, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law a bill that would allow unmarried and same-sex couples to access insurance coverage for the same fertility treatments that married, different-sex couples are provided, the AP reported:

The legislation, AB460, clarifies the non-discrimination provision of an existing state law that requires health plans to offer coverage for fertility treatments, except for in vitro fertilization.

Despite the existing law, Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, said many same-sex couples have been denied the coverage. In praising Brown's signature on his bill, Ammiano said reproductive medicine should be for the benefit of everyone.

"To restrict fertility coverage solely to heterosexual married couples violates California's non-discrimination laws," he said in a statement. "I wrote this bill to correct that."

The new law will take effect in January, and contains language prohibiting insurance plans that offer fertility coverage from discriminating on any grounds, including "domestic partner status, gender, gender expression, gender identity, genetic information, marital status ... sex or sexual orientation."

Fertility issues for same-sex couples can be a hot-button issue, politically: when the French legislature approved a bill legalizing marriage equality in the country, fertility rights were left out of the debate.


The Stunning Loophole that May Block Some of France's Same-Sex Couples from Marrying

Lise_agnieszkaAfter a nation-wide campaign that brought thousands of protesters on both sides of the issue out into the streets of Paris earlier this year, the French legislature approved a marriage equality bill by an overwhelming vote that was signed into law by President François Hollande the following month, making France the 14th state to allow same-sex couples to wed.

But some same-sex couples are discovering that they may be barred from marrying because of a quirk in French marital law, as RFI English reports:

Frenchwoman Lise and her Polish girlfriend Agnieszka have been together for three years. They were looking forward to getting married after France this year became the 14th country to legalise same-sex marriage, following months of bitter debate.

"We were also really happy because it meant that we were accepted by the society," Agnieszka said. "Then our relationship can be recognised, and we are not freaks or…"

"Different," Lise added.

But under a bilateral agreement signed between Poland and France in 1967, Agnieszka falls under Polish marriage law even while in France. Since Poland doesn’t recognise gay marriage, a French magistrate would have to overrule Polish law to approve the wedding.

Ten other countries fall into the same category as Poland for the purposes of French marriage law for same-sex couples: Algeria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Cambodia, Kosovo, Laos, Montenegro, Morocco, Serbia, Slovenia and Tunisia. In a memo issued last week to French civil servants, the justice ministry wrote, "When a marriage is planned between two people of the same sex, and one of the future spouses is a national of one of these countries, the civil registrar cannot perform the marriage." Requests from such couples must be denied and sent to a magistrate, who will determine if the couple can wed on a case-by-case basis.

Christiane Taubira, France's justice minister and a strong proponent of marriage equality, said she would consider reconsidering the rules regarding binational same-sex marriages so that officials aren't specifically instructed to refuse couples' requests.

Last month, a French-Moroccan same-sex couple's marriage request in the town of Chambéry was refused on the couple's wedding day--after friends and family had travelled from Morocco and Belgium to celebrate the occasion. The couple plans to challenge the decision in court, since France does not enforce another aspect of Morocco's marriage laws that prohibit Muslims from wedding non-Muslims who have not converted.

(photo courtesy of Kalvin Ng and RFI English)


Skinhead Charged in Fatal Attack on French Gay Rights Activist Clement Meric

You may remember gay rights activist Clement Meric, who was killed in an attack by skinheads after an exchange of words and punched unconscious in early June.

MericA second man has now been charged in the attack, the Local reports:

Samuel Dufour, a 19-year-old far-right extremist, has been charged with violence leading to the death of Méric, but without the intention of killing him, according to judicial sources quoted by French radio RTL on Tuesday.

Investigators had previously suspected Esteban Morillo, another far-right extremist, of being solely responsible for landing the fatal blow on Méric during the brawl at Rue Caumartin on June 5th.

However, further examination of Méric’s autopsy report led them to conclude that a pattern of blows to the 18-year-old anti-fascist activist’s nose and cheeks implied the involvement of a second party.

RTL reports that rings worn by Dufour during the fight had matched imprints on Méric’s face.


Gay Catholic Man Says Pope Francis Called Him; Vatican Denies It

Christophe Trutino, a 25-year-old gay Catholic from Toulouse in southwest France, told a newspaper that Pope Francis called him after Trutino had written a letter to the Pontiff explaining how he was struggling with reconciling his sexuality with his faith.

FrancisThe Vatican is denying Pope Francis made the call, The Local reports:

The Vatican firmly denied reports in France on Friday that Pope Francis had telephoned a young gay French Catholic to reassure him. Christophe Trutino had claimed in a newspaper interview the Pontiff had told him “Your homosexuality. It doesn't matter" in a personal call. Father Lombardi, a spokesman for the Vatican “firmly denied” claims by the young gay Catholic that the Pope had made a private telephone call to him last week.

After previously declining to deny or confirm the call, in which Christophe Trutino claimed the Pope told him “Your homosexuality doesn’t matter” Lombardi told Le Figaro newspaper: “The Pope never called this person.”

“The only time the Pope has called France was to speak to Cardinal Barbarin. I absolutely deny this information," he said. “There is always the risk that people pretend to be the pope over the phone,” Lombardi added.

Trutino said that Pope Francis initiated the conversation:

“I received the letter that you sent me. You need to remain courageous and continue to believe and pray and stay good,” the voice at the end of the phone told him during the nine-minute conversation in Spanish.

“Your homosexuality. It doesn’t matter. One way or another , we are all children of God. This is why we must continue to be good," he continued.

Pope Francis recently made headlines when he said, while speaking to reporters: "Who am I to judge a gay person of goodwill who seeks the Lord? You can't marginalize these people."


French Actor Alain Delon Says Homosexuality is 'Against Nature'

French actor Alain Delon told a French television station that homosexuality is "against nature" in an interview about his opposition to gay adoption, Pink News reports:

DelonSpeaking live on France 2, he was asked about his controversial stance on prohibiting same-sex couples from having children.

He responded: “Yes, it is against nature, I’m sorry.

“We are here to love a woman, to woo a woman, not to flirt with or get picked up by guys.”

On the topic of same-sex marriages, Mr Delon added: “I’m not against gay marriage, I do not give a damn, but I am against the adoption of children.” ...

...When the host told Mr Delon they were receiving a slew of angry messages on Twitter, he said: “What I do not want is for them to adopt. But we will not discuss it for hours, or it becomes a different issue.”

Delon has starred in dozens of French films and once thought of as that country's answer to James Dean.


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