France’s Socialist cabinet adopted a draft bill to authorise gay marriage and adoption today (7 November) despite opposition from the Roman Catholic Church and others.
‘This is an important step towards the equality of rights,’ said Minister of Family Affairs Dominique Bertinnoti to AFP.
The French president Francois Hollande, made the issue a key part of his electoral platform, stating it was an advance ‘for all of society’.
Bertinnoti rejected criticism from religious and conservative groups that the move would ‘destroy’ the family, saying: ‘On the contrary it is a legal protection.’
The bill, will be introduced for a vote in early 2013 in the parliament, has attracted strong critique from religious and conservative groups without fully addressing the demands of France’s LGBT community.
The text of the bill stipulates: ‘Marriage is contracted by two persons of different sex or same-sex.’ The bill also grants the right for adoption for gay couples.
The text of the draft bill also stipulates the use of the words ‘parent/s’ replacing the words ‘mother’ and ‘father’.
However, as previously noted by LGBT rights groups, the bill does not provide medically assisted procreation (MAP) for lesbian couples and would be ‘addressed’ by the government in a ‘future family law’, which was not specified.
In other words, 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
The French prime-minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, suggested that the text might evolve during the parliamentary hearings, scheduled to begin late January.
With more than a month’s delay, the French government objective is to pass the law before the end of the first half of 2013.
Members of the ruling Socialist party stated that amendments will be filed to address MAP, and other issues such as the legal status of a step-parent.
These amendments would partially meet the criticism levelled at the French government made by, Inter-LGBT, the main French LGBT rights group.
LGBT rights groups have previously pointed out that MAP had been promised by FranÃ§ois Holland during his election campaign.
LGBT rights groups are planning to hold a protest for MAP this evening in Paris.