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France gay marriage attacked by LGBT activists and Catholics

France’s government unveiled the outline of its proposed same-sex marriage which was met by criticism by Catholics and by gay rights activists who state that lack of fertility assistance falls short of full equality
French Catholic Cardinal warns gay marriage will bring a 'break down in society', while LGBT rights group criticise it as falling short of full equality

The bill on gay marriage and adoption will be presented on 31 October to the cabinet, but the full text of the proposed bill is still being elaborated, with a final decision on its precise wording, by the French prime minister and president.

Some of the key points of the proposed marriage equality bill was criticised by both LGBT rights groups as well as conservative and Catholic groups.

Under the proposed bill same sex couples would be able to marry, adopt children and become a parent of their partner's biological child in the same way that a straight couples can.

However during an interview with the Catholic newspaper La Croix, France’s minister of justice, Christiane Taubira-Delannon revealed that French gays and lesbians will not have the same rights as heterosexual couples, in contrast to neighbouring countries who have marriage equality elsewhere (for example in Belguim and Spain).

France will continue to prevent lesbian couples from using artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization to conceive. This in contrast to heterosexual couples who have access to assisted reproduction as long as they can prove they've been together for two years.

French lesbian couples who manage to have babies together will therefore not be allowed to list both parents’ names on their children’s birth certificates.

Taubira confirmed this during a meeting (13 September) with the French rights group inter-LGBT.

Nicolas Gougain, spokesperson for inter-LGBT stated: ‘The minister has confirmed that currently the bill will not provide medically assisted procreation (MAP) for female couples. But she was extremely cautious, saying there was no strong opposition on this issue, and it would defer to the arbitration of the president and prime minister.’

Gougain voiced said he was disappointed as François Hollande pledged before his election to the French presidency to legislate for full marriage equality including MAP.

Gougain also added that the text of the proposed bill is still unclear and without further elaboration may contain further disappointments.

Judith Silberfeld, editor of the online LGBT magazine Yagg , told FRANCE 24 that the website’s readers were ‘incensed’ by government U-turn: ‘We didn’t know exactly what to expect [concerning the precisions of the bill], but we had, nonetheless, been promised medically assisted procreation (MAP).

'Ms Taubira’s comments on Tuesday threw everyone into confusion.’

Catherine Michaud, chair of GayLib, an LGBT movement associated with the opposition French conservative UMP party, agreed: ‘A child doesn’t have the right to a mother and father. It has the right to two loving parents.’

She slammed the Socialist French government as being hypocritical by going back on its pledge of full equality.

Taubira refused to comment on the matter to numerous French journalists.

Taubira’s statement also attracted criticism from French conservatives and Catholic advocates.

Christine Boutin, the leader of France's Christian Democratic Party and one of France’s most vocal conservatives, called for a referendum on the issue and warned of ‘heavy consequences for society’ if the law were to go ahead.

The Catholic Cardinal of France, Philippe Barbarin warned that same-sex marriage will lead to ‘a breakdown in society.

‘This could have innumerable consequences. Afterward they will want to create couples with three or four members. And after that, perhaps one day the taboo of incest will fall.’

Dominique Rey, the Bishop of Fréjus-Toulon, stated that: ‘A referendum must be held to allow a real debate and to make sure the government is not in the grip of the lobbies.

‘A majority of the population agrees with the traditional view of marriage.’

However, according to a BVA French poll published in August, 65 percent of French people support gay marriage and 53 percent support adoption by gay couples. 

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