Last week the French President Francois Hollande’s government approved a bill to legalise equal marriage and allow gay couples to adopt. The new reform was strongly opposed by many, including over 1,000 mayors and the entire French Catholic Church hierarchy.
France is one of a number of European nations that already have civil unions for same-sex couples, however gay marriage was one of Hollande’s campaign pledges during his bid to become President. On Wednesday he told his cabinet that the bill would mean “progress not only for individuals but for the whole of society” they approved the bill.
The French government have announced that October 31st is the date when a draft law authorising equal marriage will be approved by government ministers.
There had been widespread political and religious opposition, to the bill however Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault insisted there would be no backtracking on a manifesto promise by President Francois Hollande in an interview with local French news agency AFP.
More than 1,200 French mayors and deputy mayors have signed a petition opposing the government’s plans, with many of them warning they will not preside over same-sex ceremonies. Whilst that number may seem significant, it represents less than one percent of French mayors.
Last week, Francois Lebel, a district mayor in Paris who had previously married former President Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife Carla Bruni, said that he would not conduct marriages for same-sex couples and suggested the measure could open the door to the approval of polygamous or incestuous unions. Although quite how such a move would allow the ‘door to be opened’ is beyond all legal, moral and political understanding.
Prime Minister Ayrault said the draft legislation will include provision for married gay couples to adopt children but the right will not be immediately extended to unmarried gay couples.
New legislation which will be introduced into the French Parliament that will allow gay couples to marry could be on the cards as early as October this year. This would fulfil a campaign pledge by the new French President, Francois Hollande and will also allow gay couple the right to adopt.
Prime Minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, had previously announced in parliament that gay couples would be permitted to marry and adopt children in 2013. However, he spoke to members of the Socialist Party on Saturday: ‘In October, we will send a bill to the National Assembly and the Senate to allow same-sex couples to marry. It would also allow them to form families and adopt children.” he said and the bill will be introduced to both houses of French Parliament in October, both of which will have to approve the bill, after a debate.
If approved, France will join several other countries in the European Union that legally recognise proper same-sex marriage. This comes on the back of some seriously heavy objections from the French Catholic Church, which has not been quiet in its objection to equality.
A lesbian couple in France are celebrating now after a twist to the truth has enabled them to get married yes. the two French women have successfully found a loophole to twist France’s same-sex marriage ban on Saturday owing to the fact that one half of the couple is still classed as a man – in the legal sense only.
A French MP from Nicolas Sarkozy’s ruling UMP party sparked uproar on Thursday after likening gay weddings to "unions with animals".
Brigitte Barèges sparked angry jeers in parliament during a debate on a law "to open up marriage to same-sex couples" in France. The 58-year-old Right-winger from Montauban, southern France, appalled MPs by exclaiming: "So in that case, why not unions with animals? Or polygamy?"
Gay rights groups branded the comments "insulting and disdainful", and threatened legal action. Left-wing MPs who proposed the debate have called on Ms Barèges to make a public apology Christophe Girard, Socialist deputy mayor of Paris branded them "pathetic and vulgar".
The 10 best French gay movies range the gamut from exploratory coming out stories to farcical mystery murders. While all of the French gay movies have homosexuality as a main theme, they explore humanity in it’s entirety as characters experience complex emotions and circumstances.
- “Querelle.” "Querelle" was adapted to screen from Jean Genet’s novel, “Querelle de Brest.” The main protagonist Querelle (Brad Davis), a sailor and sometimes drug trafficker, is drawn into a series of lurid relationships when he visits a Brest brothel. This is an art film that critics seem to love or hate, and sometimes both. The film was nominated for the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival in 1982. Davis also played the lead in another drug oriented film, “The Midnight Express.”
- “8 Women.” This film is a musical comedy with many well known actresses in the French movie scene. It’s a farcical mystery movie, about eight women trying to solve a murder. Francois Ozon has gained critical acclaim for the film, and is considered to be part of the wave of young French directors. Ozon won a Lumiere award for the film.
- “The Best Way to Walk.” This film is another coming of age story set in boy’s camp in the French countryside. The homoerotic tale unfolds between two male counsellors at the camp. This film won a César award for best cinematography
- “You’ll Get Over It.” Another coming of age film, the movie centres around Vincent Molina (Julian Baumgartner) coming out of the proverbial closet and how people in his life react to his decision. Although the movie received mixed reviews, it was well received as an authentic look at how people react to homosexuals revealing their true identities.
- “Beau Travail.” A movie based on soldiers in the French Foreign Legion, this film won many critical accolades. It received top honours in the Village Voice’s Film Critic’s poll in 2000, and Rolling Stone Magazine also gave it the highest rating possible.
- “La Cage aux Folles.” The film was adapted from a successful Broadway musical which had won three Tony awards. The story involves a homosexual couple, Renato and Albin (Ugo Tognazzi and Michel Serrault) and what happens when Renato’s son bring home his fiancée and her extremely conservative parents. The movie won a Golden Globe for best foreign film in 1980.
- “La Garconne.” Featuring the Parisian sweetheart, Edith Pilaf, the film was wildly successful in 1936 due to its showing of forbidden topics, mainly lesbians smoking opium. The plot centres around Marie Bell (Monique Lerbier), whose parents want her to marry for money, but she decides to become independent and do what she wants. The movie was banned in Paris.
- “The Closet.” A hilarious, and very non-politically correct plotline concerns itself with a straight man Francois Pignon (Daniel Auteuil) pretending to be gay so he won’t get fired. This movie uses humour to unmask psychological truths that people would rather not realize about themselves. The movie garnered much critical acclaim, and stars Gerard Depardieu as Santini, Francois’ homophobic and hypocritical co-worker.
- “Water Drops on Burning Rocks.” Another critically acclaimed film by director Francois Ozon, this drama is about a 50 year old man, (Bernard Giraudeau) seducing a twenty year old boy (Malik Zidi). The film won a Teddy award for Best Feature Film at the Berlin Film Festival.
- “Water Lilies.” A swimming pool is the setting for three girls discovery of love and desire over the course of a summer. The film won a 2007 Prix de la jeunesse at the Cabourg Romantic Film Festival in Cabourg, France.
The Mayor of Paris is openly gay. Personalities such as the long-time lover of late fashion guru Yves Saint Laurent play high-profile roles in French society. Reports the UK’s Independent newspaper. French gay rights groups are as vocal as they come. But the country whose motto is Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité hasn’t given the love and commitment of same-sex couples equal legal standing to that of heterosexuals.