Friday, 17 June 2011

French Lawmakers Reject Bill to Legalize Same-sex Marriage

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The lower house of France’s parliament has rejected a measure pushed by that country’s opposition Socialist Party to legalize same-sex marriage. By a vote of 293-222, the National Assembly, led by lawmakers from the conservative UMP (Union for a Popular Movement), turned back the bill which stipulated that “marriage can be contracted by two people of different sexes or of the same sex.”

As reported by the Associated Press, the vote “reflected opposition to gay marriage among President Nicolas Sarkozy’s governing conservatives and the strain of traditional values that runs through many parts of France — away from the gay-friendly bars and neighborhoods of Paris.”

Earlier this year the Constitutional Court, France’s highest judicial body, ruled that laws prohibiting same-sex marriage do not violate the country’s constitution, and that any changes to law would have to come via the parliament.

Homosexual activists derided the vote, pointing to neighboring Spain, Belgium, and the Netherlands — which have all legalized homosexual marriage — as evidence that France has fallen behind the times on the issue.

UMP lawmaker Michel Diefenbacher explained that while he and other conservative legislators were “against homophobia,” they rejected the measure because “we do not want to alter the image and function of marriage in the collective subconscious.”

LifeSite News
reported that two other UMP lawmakers, Christian Vanneste and Brigette Bareges, “were more blunt in their negative assessment of the proposed measure,” with Vanneste calling same-sex unions an “anthropological aberration,” and Bareges asking rhetorically that if homosexual unions were legalized, then “why not marriage with animals, or polygamy?”

After being mercilessly criticized for her comments by homosexual activists, liberal politicians, and even members of her own UMP party, Bareges changed her tune somewhat, refusing to apologize but saying that she had meant the comments “as a joke,” and insisting, “I am personally in favor of all types of sexual relations between consenting adults.”

LifeSite noted that the National Assembly’s rejection of the measure “represents an ambivalence in French society towards the homosexualist movement. While France was the first European nation to create civil unions for homosexuals, a measure passed in 1999, it has steadfastly resisted the redefinition of marriage.”

Although France’s President Sarkozy has taken a supportive stance toward the normalization of homosexuality, according to LifeSite, he “also opposed the ‘homosexual marriage’ bill, provoking accusations of flip-flopping by socialist legislators, who say that he promised to pass such a measure in 2007.”

AP cited a January survey by the French network Canal Plus TV which found that 58 percent of adults in France believe that homosexuals should be allowed to marry — a number that was up from 45 percent in 2006.

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