Even “Liberal” France Wrestles With Issue Of Gay Marriage


French President Francois Hollande swept in to power with a liberal agenda referred to as his election manifesto, which was filled with many promises.  None seemed more likely to be positively received than the legalization of gay marriage and the right for gay couples to adopt.  Now the liberal government is getting set to release its “marriage for everyone” doctrine and it appears support for the measure is wavering.  Although France is a secular country and religion doesn’t usually play a role in political life, it is a traditional, Catholic country.  So perhaps it shouldn’t be a huge surprise the doctrine is meeting stiff resistance from religious groups, people living in rural areas of the country and even within Hollande’s own ranks.  Religious leaders throughout the country have joined to voice their opposition not only to gay marriage, but adoption by gay couples.  The arguments against gay marriage are not unlike the arguments in the US; the end of the traditional family, perversion, it will lead to other sexual deviance like polygamy and incest, someone will want to marry their horse.  To this the response should be, anyone who wants to marry a horse, should be permitted to do so.  However, it’s not just these groups who are fighting against gay marriage.  According to the AP,  “all the noise appears to be eroding support for same-sex rights and suggests the bill will be diluted or modified before it reaches a vote. Polls generally still show a majority favor gay marriage, though to a declining degree.  And a recent poll by Ifop showed less than half now favor gay adoption, down from more than half in previous polls.”  If a liberal country like France is wrestling with this issue, something that was not expected, it’s no wonder the US remains so divided.  For older people in particular, who grew up in a very different time, and religious people who have been indoctrinated, it would be as unfair to ask them to act any differently, as it would to ask a gay person not to be gay.  It’s simply who they are and it is isn’t worth arguing with them as they won’t be swayed.  Ultimately, gay marriage and gay adoption will be legalized in most western societies but it will take a little longer before that happens.  The fight for any civil rights, whether it be a woman’s right to vote, or civil rights for people of color, requires hard-fought battles, persistence, and time.  If France does move forward and legalize gay marriage, it will be the 12th country in the world to do so.  Other countries include, Sweden, Belgium, Norway, Spain and Canada.

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