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


marriage has been legal in France since 17th May 2013, after a bill was passed
under François Hollande’s presidency. This made France the 9th country in
Europe and the 14th country in the world to legalise marriage amongst
homosexuals. 1Homosexuality
was decriminalised in France in 1791, after the French Revolution took place.
However, due to the large Catholic population in France, it was not necessarily
accepted. Eventually in 1999, homosexual couples were allowed to enter into a
civil partnership, known as a civil solidarity pact or ‘PACS’, which was open
to all. Despite same-sex marriage not being legal, the mayor of Begles
performed the first same-sex marriage in 2004. However, this marriage was later
considered void. Eventually in 2012, François Hollande announced that
<>, a new law allowing couples of the same
sex to have the same marriage and adoption rights as heterosexual couples, would
be included within his election campaign for the presidential election which
took place that May. 2 In November 2012, an early version of the bill was given
by the Minister of Justice, Christiane Taubira, which was voted on by
parliament. There were many debates on this law and many started protesting
against it. Notable people and groups include the activist Frigide Barjot and Civitas and
La Manif Pour Tous.3
In this essay, the effect of the French Republican values on the
debate surrounding gay marriage and parenting will be discussed, along with the
differences between France and other European countries, specifically the Netherlands
and the United Kingdom, concerning this issue.


One of the most important values of the French Republic is
that France is secular. Since 1905, the state and the church have been
given this secularity, it would make sense for people to be in favour of
<>.  In
fact, in January 2013, sixty-three per cent of those participating in a survey
were found to be in favour of same-sex marriage. 5 It must, however, be noted that the 2014 demographic
survey found that  approximately two
thirds of the French population are Christian, of whom eighty-three per cent
are Catholic.6 In
the Catechism of the Catholic Church, it is stated that marriage is between a
man and a woman7.
This would suggest that would have been opposed to same-sex marriage. Civitas, one of the campaign groups
opposing gay marriage, was fundamentalist Catholic8,
and so would have taken this particular belief literally.

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Also against same-sex marriage were 1200 mayors and their
deputies, who had formed a group called Mayors
for Justice, formed of mayors from more right-wing or religious political
parties, that signed a petition in opposition to gay marriage; a number of these
mayors also expressed their refusal to carry out ceremonies and wanted for
there 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 then
would the legal age for marriage be maintained? And why forbid marriage between
close relations, paedophilia or incest which are all still common currency in
the world”10, clearly showing his
strong opposition to same-sex marriage.



Universalism is another key Republican value. The name of
the 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. One
could also link this to the first article of the current (1958) French
constitution, which states that “It France shall ensure equality of all
citizens before the law”12
and 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 dignity
and rights”13. Here, each individual is
included, irrespective of their sexual orientation, therefore there should be
one ‘version’ of marriage, which includes all members of the population, as
implied by <>.


On the
contrary, universalism was also used by those opposed to the bill, most notably
shown by the name of the group La Manif
Pour 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 and
mother”15. Here, the word ‘every’
has significance. Dumont was effectively expressing that the movement was
protecting all children, using the idea of universalism in opposition to



France was the 9th
European country or autonomous region to legalise same-sex marriage, following
the Netherlands (2001), Belgium (2003), Spain (2005), Norway (2009), Sweden (2009),
Portugal (2010), Iceland (2010) and Denmark (2012). Following France were
England and Wales (2014), Scotland (2014), Finland (2014), Ireland (2014),
Greenland (2015) and Germany (2017). This makes Europe the continent with the
greatest number of countries or autonomous regions where same-sex marriage is


The Netherlands was not only the
first country in Europe where same-sex marriage was legalised, but was in fact
the first country in the world to do this. In 1995, a special commission was created
by the Dutch Parliament in order to explore the possibility of same-sex
marriage. A decision to include same-sex couples in civil marriage was then
made in 1997. The new government, formed in 1998, promised to look into
same-sex marriage and the final draft of the bill was produced in September
2000. The law allowing same-sex couples to marry was then passed on the 1st
April 2001. When the bill was voted on, the majority were in favour of the new
law; only those members of the Christian parties were against. 17
Compared with France, the situation surrounding same-sex marriage was very
similar. In both cases, it was first made legal for same-sex couples to enter
into a civil union. However, with the Netherlands, this was made legal
following the special commission, implying that it was with a view to the
legalisation of same-sex marriage, and discussions continued following this
legalisation. However, in France, same-sex marriage or <> was not put forward until François Hollande’s presidential
campaign in 2012. Another difference was that initially in the Netherlands


As for the United Kingdom, there
has been a considerable amount of gay rights activism since the early 1970s, with
a significant increase when an amendment to the Local Government Act 1988 meant that state schools could no longer promote
homosexuality. The amendment was removed from Scottish law in 2000 and from
English, Welsh and Northern Irish law in 2003. Civil partnerships have been
allowed in the United Kingdom, following the 2004 Civil Partnership act. Same-sex
marriage was eventually made legal in England and Wales on 29th March
2014. It was then made legal in Scotland the following December. However,
same-sex marriage is not legal in Northern Ireland.18 19
When the bill was proposed, the majority of MPs were in favour of the new
However, as with France, there was an opposition21.
France and the United Kingdom both made civil partnerships between same-sex
couples available before legalising same-sex marriage, although in the United
Kingdom, this is not available to heterosexual couples22 ,
unlike in France23.
As for parenting, in the United Kingdom, same-sex couples, whether have been
allowed 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 that
the values of the French Republic were taken into consideration during the
debate on same-sex marriage and parenting in France



(The Protests)








11 correct
version to be found, currently










(to be found)





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