French government ready to redefine marriage
On 31st October, Francois Hollande’s cabinet will assess a draft copy of legislation which, if approved, would redefine marriage in France despite growing opposition.
The French president has promised that same-sex ‘marriage’ will be introduced by mid-2013.
The draft legislation will propose a redefinition of marriage so that it is “contracted between two persons of different sex or of the same sex”, according to French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault.
The document will also set out provisions for same-sex couples to adopt children. These provisions will not be extended to unmarried same-sex couples.
Legislation that covers the issue of same-sex couples’ access to medically assisted conception will be discussed at a later date.
Ayrault said: “After a very broad consultation process that, of course, involved religious leaders, I've made up my mind. This is about ensuring fairness and equality that reflects the evolution of our society”.
“A turning point for civilisation”
However, many mayors and deputy mayors across France have warned that they will not preside over same-sex ceremonies if the law is changed. Over 1,200 of them have signed a petition against redefining marriage.
Xavier Lemoine, a Parisian mayor who has said he will not conduct the ceremonies, warned that the legislation would be a disaster for society.
“I can refuse to apply the law if the law is tyrannical," Lemoine commented. “Above all else, I have to respect my conscience”.
Church leaders have also raised their voices in opposition. Six Bishops in Normandy have issued a statement calling for further debate on the issue.
“We believe that such a decision, which would represent a turning point for civilisation, cannot rest on the principle of equality and non-discrimination alone”, the Bishops said.
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