EVERY TWO WEEKS
   Please leave this field empty
Institute for Policy Studies
RSS Feeds
IPS Blog » Post

U.S. Could Take a Lesson From France on LGBT Rights

February 21, 2013 ·

Same-sex marriage and adoption move forward in France.

Same-sex marriage and adoption move forward in France.

France’s National Assembly approved a bill last week that legalizes gay marriage in the country and allows same-sex couples to adopt children. Final approval rests with the Senate, which like the Assembly is controlled by the left. This is a major victory for advocates of gay rights, and those French members of parliament who voted to change the course of the nation.

Opponents of the bill introduced some 5,000 amendments to the gay marriage proposal—an attempt to effectively block the bill. But despite the efforts of the opposition, the bill passed with a vote of 329 in favor and 229 against.

Public opposition to gay marriage and adoption has come in the form of high-profile rallies against the legislation, with the adoption issue proving particularly controversial. Yet unlike in the United States—where opposition to same-sex marriage is strongest among certain religious communities—the issue appears to be more secular in France, where the influence of the church has long been on the decline. According to a survey in France’s Catholic Daily, La Croix, 58 percent of French Catholics never go to mass, and 83 percent said the church should keep out of politics.

Polls show that nearly two thirds of French voters support the gay marriage bill, aligning with the makeup of the French parliament. The Socialist Party and its allies control both the National Assembly and the Senate, likely securing the bill’s final passage in the coming months. Corinne Narassiguin, representative for the Socialist Party of France has called the bill “a first necessary step [in] a social evolution that benefits society overall.”

France has taken a step toward the future of equality for all people, regardless of sexual orientation; the United States could look to its European counterpart for a lesson in advancing LGBT rights.

France’s National Assembly approved a bill last week that legalizes gay marriage in the country and allows same-sex couples to adopt children. Final approval rests with the Senate, which like the Assembly is controlled by the left. This is a major victory for advocates of gay rights, and those French members of parliament who voted to change the course of the nation.

Opponents of the bill introduced some 5,000 amendments to the gay marriage proposal—an attempt to effectively block the bill. But despite the efforts of the opposition, the bill passed with a vote of 329 in favor and 229 against.

Public opposition to gay marriage and adoption has come in the form of high-profile rallies against the legislation, with the adoption issue proving particularly controversial. Yet unlike in the United States—where opposition to same-sex marriage is strongest among certain religious communities—the issue appears to be more secular in France, where the influence of the church has long been on the decline.  According to a survey in France’s Catholic Daily, La Croix, 58 percent of French Catholics never go to mass, and 83 percent said the church should keep out of politics.

Polls show that nearly two thirds of French voters support the gay marriage bill, aligning with the makeup of the French parliament. The Socialist Party and its allies control both the National Assembly and the Senate, likely securing the bill’s final passage in the coming months. Corinne Narassiguin, representative for the Socialist Party of France has called the bill “a first necessary step [in] a social evolution that benefits society overall.”

France has taken a step toward the future of equality for all people, regardless of sexual orientation; the United States could look to its European counterpart for a lesson in advancing LGBT rights.

Renee Lott is an intern at Foreign Policy in Focus.