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Thursday, 8 March 2012

Where the main candidates in the French presidential elections stand on same-sex marriage

It's French presidential election year - just in case you hadn't noticed.

That of course means a chance for each of the candidates to outline where they stand on certain issues and that includes a whole raft of social policies.

They have their differences of course. That's only to be expected.

And one area where those divergences are perhaps most marked is when it comes to the subject of same-sex marriage and parents of the same sex being allowed to adopt.

Neither are currently allowed in France, but that could all change. It depends on who wins the presidential elections.

Broadly speaking, the main candidates fall into three camps.

First of all there are those who are against same-sex marriage (Nicolas Sarkozy and Marine Le Pen) or would perhaps be willing to consider modification to the existing civil partnership law (in the case of Sarkozy) and are opposed to same-sex couples being able to adopt (both Sarkozy and Le Pen).

Then there are those who are in favour of equal rights on both issues - François Hollande, Jean-Luc Mélenchon and Eva Joly.

And finally there's François Bayrou, who of course manages his own particular mix of being against same-sex marriage but for a change in the civil partnership laws and in favour of same-sex couples being able to adopt.

To make things clearer on the subject, the weekly women's magazine Femme Actuelle interviewed six women; five of whom represent each of the main candidates and the sixth, Marine Le Pen, who is of course standing for the far-right Front National.

Here's what some of them had to say.

Speaking for the candidates (screenshot from Femme Actuelle video)

Claude Greff (for Sarkozy), the junior minister for family said that Sarkozy had proposed a change in the civil union in 2007 to create one that would be "specifically for same-sex couples" but it was ruled anti-constitutional.

As far as same-sex marriage is concerned, Sarkozy is against it because it "opens the door to sam-sex couples being able to adopt" and the existing laws which allows single people to adopt is sufficient as it also gives homosexuals the right to adopt.

Anne Hidalgo (for François Hollande) a member of the Socialist party's election campaign team says the belief that both should be made legal is a "right" that has been close to Hollande's heart for some time.

"It's time for politicians to catch up with public opinion and what actually happens in society," she says.

"The two issues have to be treated in the same parliamentary session and Hollande's pledge is to do that by the end of this year."

Civil union should be an absolute right for everyone as far as Bayrou is concerned. And on the question of adoption, "He is a humanist", says Marielle de Sarnez, the vice president of MoDem.

"These children (of same-sex couples) exist," she says. "

Of course adoption needs to have a judicial basis which protects the needs of the child."

Finally speaking for herself, Marine La Pen says quite categorically that she's against both.

"I think a child should have a mother and a father," she says.

While she doesn't intend to reverse the PACS, as far as same-sex marriage is concerned, it's a no-go.

"I think it's just the wishes of an extreme minority," she says.

"I know plenty of homosexuals and not one of them has spoken out in favour of wanting to get married.

Femme Actuelle also interviewed two other women; Clémentine Autain (for Jean-Luc Mélenchon), a member of the Front de Gauche campaign team, and Dominique Voynet, a spokeswoman for the Europe Écologie Les Verts candidate, Eva Joly.

On the subject of same-sex marriage and same-sex couples being allowed to adopt, they were, not surprisingly, both in agreement with Hollande.

Take a look at the remainder of the interviews if you can.

Apart from the issue of same-sex marriage and adoption, the six women are asked about the candidates' policies on the status of step-parents and universal child benefits

They're interesting, not too detailed or heavy but at the same time avoid becoming merely sound bites.

And sometimes the points on which they converge are as surprising as those on which they diverge.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure that the number 1 priority for French voters right now: it seems the presidential campaign is avoiding all the important issues, such as the economic crisis, the economic crisis or the economic crisis.
Perhaps the reason is, the various candidates would have very little freedom to implement anything else than austerity measures (apart from F. Hollande who claims he will renegotiate the new treaty). I suppose a debate on same sex marriage and adoption by gay couples is a way to distract voters.

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