France: marriage equality to be legalised
HOMOSEXUAL couples will be able to get married and to adopt under a new law to be introduced next month and expected to be voted early in 2013.
Garde des Sceaux Christiane Taubira, the justice minister, was fulfilling a campaign promise by President Hollande and said: "We are well aware of the philosophical and anthropological dimensions around marriage but we feel that they should not break the rule of equality."
She said that the law would extend the rights of marriage, kinship and parentage to same-sex couples and open up adoption either individually or as a couple. Homosexuals wishing to become a "parent" to the biological child of a partner would be able to do so under the same conditions as heterosexuals.
However, homosexuals will still not have the right to artificial fertility treatment (PMA) and the government has maintained the ban on surrogacy.
In an interview with La Croix, Ms Taubira said that the adoption procedure was rigorous and would be applied in the same way as for heterosexual couples. She gave an assurance that the "interest of the child is a priority for the government".
France at present only allows same-sex civil unions and granting full marriage rights to homosexuals will bring it into line with fellow EU countries Belgium, Denmark, Holland, Portugal, Spain and Sweden.
The Catholic Church has already made clear its stance by launching a country-wide prayer in favour of each child having a "father and a mother" during the Assumption mass.
If passed, the plans mark a major change in a country where more than 60% of people describe themselves as Roman Catholic.