Same-sex first same-sex marriage in 2004. However, this marriage

 Same-sexmarriage has been legal in France since 17th May 2013, after a bill was passedunder François Hollande’s presidency. This made France the 9th country inEurope and the 14th country in the world to legalise marriage amongsthomosexuals. 1Homosexualitywas decriminalised in France in 1791, after the French Revolution took place.However, due to the large Catholic population in France, it was not necessarilyaccepted.

Eventually in 1999, homosexual couples were allowed to enter into acivil partnership, known as a civil solidarity pact or ‘PACS’, which was opento all. Despite same-sex marriage not being legal, the mayor of Beglesperformed the first same-sex marriage in 2004. However, this marriage was laterconsidered void. Eventually in 2012, François Hollande announced that<>, a new law allowing couples of the samesex to have the same marriage and adoption rights as heterosexual couples, wouldbe included within his election campaign for the presidential election whichtook place that May. 2 In November 2012, an early version of the bill was givenby the Minister of Justice, Christiane Taubira, which was voted on byparliament.

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There were many debates on this law and many started protestingagainst it. Notable people and groups include the activist Frigide Barjot and Civitas andLa Manif Pour Tous.3In this essay, the effect of the French Republican values on thedebate surrounding gay marriage and parenting will be discussed, along with thedifferences between France and other European countries, specifically the Netherlandsand the United Kingdom, concerning this issue. One of the most important values of the French Republic isthat France is secular.

Since 1905, the state and the church have beenseparate.4Also,given this secularity, it would make sense for people to be in favour of<>.  Infact, in January 2013, sixty-three per cent of those participating in a surveywere found to be in favour of same-sex marriage.

5 It must, however, be noted that the 2014 demographicsurvey found that  approximately twothirds of the French population are Christian, of whom eighty-three per centare Catholic.6 Inthe Catechism of the Catholic Church, it is stated that marriage is between aman and a woman7.This would suggest that would have been opposed to same-sex marriage. Civitas, one of the campaign groupsopposing gay marriage, was fundamentalist Catholic8,and so would have taken this particular belief literally. Also against same-sex marriage were 1200 mayors and theirdeputies, who had formed a group called Mayorsfor Justice, formed of mayors from more right-wing or religious politicalparties, that signed a petition in opposition to gay marriage; a number of thesemayors also expressed their refusal to carry out ceremonies and wanted forthere to be a clause in the law allowing them to do this.9  According to France 24, one of these mayors –François Lebel of the UMP – stated  “Why thenwould the legal age for marriage be maintained? And why forbid marriage betweenclose relations, paedophilia or incest which are all still common currency inthe world”10, clearly showing hisstrong opposition to same-sex marriage.  Universalism is another key Republican value. The name ofthe bill was <>, and not <>.

In her speech on the same-sex marriage bill, Christiane Taubira referred to<> as “an act of equality”11,reinforcing the idea that everyone should be entitled to the same rights. Onecould also link this to the first article of the current (1958) Frenchconstitution, which states that “It France shall ensure equality of allcitizens before the law”12and furthermore to the first article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,in which it is stated that “All human beings are born free and equal in dignityand rights”13. Here, each individual isincluded, irrespective of their sexual orientation, therefore there should beone ‘version’ of marriage, which includes all members of the population, asimplied by <>.

 On thecontrary, universalism was also used by those opposed to the bill, most notablyshown by the name of the group La ManifPour Tous14.In an interview with Alexander Stille of the New Yorker, Albéric Dumont, one of the founders, said that “We feel that every child has a right to a father andmother”15. Here, the word ‘every’has significance.

Dumont was effectively expressing that the movement wasprotecting all children, using the idea of universalism in opposition to<>.  France was the 9thEuropean country or autonomous region to legalise same-sex marriage, followingthe Netherlands (2001), Belgium (2003), Spain (2005), Norway (2009), Sweden (2009),Portugal (2010), Iceland (2010) and Denmark (2012). Following France wereEngland and Wales (2014), Scotland (2014), Finland (2014), Ireland (2014),Greenland (2015) and Germany (2017). This makes Europe the continent with thegreatest number of countries or autonomous regions where same-sex marriage islegal16. The Netherlands was not only thefirst country in Europe where same-sex marriage was legalised, but was in factthe first country in the world to do this. In 1995, a special commission was createdby the Dutch Parliament in order to explore the possibility of same-sexmarriage. A decision to include same-sex couples in civil marriage was thenmade in 1997.

The new government, formed in 1998, promised to look intosame-sex marriage and the final draft of the bill was produced in September2000. The law allowing same-sex couples to marry was then passed on the 1stApril 2001. When the bill was voted on, the majority were in favour of the newlaw; only those members of the Christian parties were against. 17Compared with France, the situation surrounding same-sex marriage was verysimilar.

In both cases, it was first made legal for same-sex couples to enterinto a civil union. However, with the Netherlands, this was made legalfollowing the special commission, implying that it was with a view to thelegalisation of same-sex marriage, and discussions continued following thislegalisation. However, in France, same-sex marriage or <> was not put forward until François Hollande’s presidentialcampaign in 2012. Another difference was that initially in the Netherlands As for the United Kingdom, therehas been a considerable amount of gay rights activism since the early 1970s, witha significant increase when an amendment to the Local Government Act 1988 meant that state schools could no longer promotehomosexuality. The amendment was removed from Scottish law in 2000 and fromEnglish, Welsh and Northern Irish law in 2003. Civil partnerships have beenallowed in the United Kingdom, following the 2004 Civil Partnership act.

Same-sexmarriage was eventually made legal in England and Wales on 29th March2014. It was then made legal in Scotland the following December. However,same-sex marriage is not legal in Northern Ireland.18 19When the bill was proposed, the majority of MPs were in favour of the newlegislation20.However, as with France, there was an opposition21.France and the United Kingdom both made civil partnerships between same-sexcouples available before legalising same-sex marriage, although in the UnitedKingdom, this is not available to heterosexual couples22 ,unlike in France23.As for parenting, in the United Kingdom, same-sex couples, whether have beenallowed to jointly adopt since 2005, following the Adoption and Children Act 200224;this took place before the legalisation of same-sex marriage.    In conclusion, it is clear thatthe values of the French Republic were taken into consideration during thedebate on same-sex marriage and parenting in France1 http://www.gouvernement.fr/action/le-mariage-pour-tous2 https://www.reuters.com/article/us-france-gaymarriage-time/timeline-marriage-and-homosexual-rights-in-france-idUSBRE90C0AO201301133 http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/wol1/doi/10.1111/1467-8675.12168/full#cons12168-sec-0020(The Protests)4 https://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/en/coming-to-france/france-facts/secularism-and-religious-freedom-in-france/article/secularism-and-religious-freedom-in-france5 https://www.reuters.com/article/us-france-marriage-poll/poll-shows-63-percent-of-french-back-gay-marriage-idUSBRE90P0HL201301266 https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/religious-demographics-of-france.html7 http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s2c2a6.htm8 http://en.rfi.fr/france/20130405-protests-and-prayers-french-senate-debates-gay-marriage9 https://www.thelocal.fr/20121011/mayors-unite-in-petition-against-gay-marriage10 http://www.france24.com/en/20121007-france-mayors-revolt-against-gay-marriage-homosexual-ump-paris-adoption11 correctversion to be found, currently https://www.thelocal.fr/20160127/the-speech-that-became-christiane-taubiras-finest-moment12 http://www.thisnation.com/library/france.html13 http://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/14 http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/wol1/doi/10.1111/1467-8675.12168/full#cons12168-note-003115 https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/an-anti-gay-marriage-tea-party-french-style16 http://uk.businessinsider.com/where-is-same-sex-marriage-legal-world-2017-11/17 http://self.gutenberg.org/articles/eng/Same-sex_marriage_in_the_Netherlands18 http://www.theweek.co.uk/87213/a-timeline-of-gay-rights-in-the-uk19 http://www.stonewall.org.uk/about-us/key-dates-lesbian-gay-bi-and-trans-equality20 http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/mps-vote-for-gay-marriage-bill-by-400-to-175-in-face-of-widespread-tory-rebellion-8482318.html21(to be found)22 https://www.gov.uk/marriages-civil-partnerships23 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-3903995424 http://www.stonewall.org.uk/help-advice/parenting-rights/adoption-and-fostering