Marriage? If It’s Tuesday It Must Be France

pic by notfrancois

Since October 2012  the largest-ever equality petition in France has been raised and presented to parliament, with over 325,000 signatures. There have been pro-marriage rallies in 17 cities. And some huge anti-equality rallies, too.

Debate has begun on the final vote in the lower house of the French National Assembly. Debate has been capped at 25 hours. The final vote is expected Tuesday, 23 April.

The majority of French people are in favour of equality. However the violent rhetoric of those opposed is worrying. Anti-equality demonstrators are acting against the wishes of the majority of French people with backing of the Catholic Church and right wing organizations, including the U.S. based National Organization for Marriage. Local organizations are taking up the fight against homophobia as the atmosphere in Paris really heats up, with the recent attack on gay couples, bars etc.

On Thursday French MPs came to blows during the debate”

“Punches were thrown,” according to Socialist MP Bernard Roman, while other sources said that one hit a parliamentary official called in to keep order.

The official video of proceedings was cut as the incident became heated.

Leading Socialist MP Thierry Mandon put the fisticuffs down to fatigue and said he was “not sure” disciplinary measures were necessary;

The incident was “a sign that it’s a good thing that we will take the final vote on this law on Tuesday”, he added, in a swipe at the right-wing UMP’s fury that the guillotine has been imposed.

A final anti-equality demonstration has been called for Sunday ahead of the vote to be held on Tuesday, 23 April in the National Assembly.

French President François Hollande condemned homophobic attacks, calling on protest organisers to try and prevent violence, and criticised the bills opponents in parliament for trying to blame the government for a “nauseating climate” and “justifying violence”.

Following a winning vote, the bill will probably be referred to the Constitutional Council in a final effort to prove the law breaches France’s constitution. Should this effort fail, as expected, the law will be signed by President Hollande and published in the Official Journal of the French Republic.

Details of the legislative process can be found here.

Information provided by ALLOut: to see the live signature totals from All Out’s petition visit here.

About the author

Veteran gay writer and speaker, Doug was one of the founders of the UKs pioneering GLBTI newspaper Gay News (1972) , and of the second, Gay Week, and is a former Features Editor of Him International. He presented news and current affairs on JOY 94.9 FM Melbourne for more than ten years. "Doug is revered, feared and reviled in equal quantities, at times dividing people with his journalistic wrath. Yet there is no doubt this grandpa-esque bear keeps everyone abreast of anything and everything LGBT across the globe." (Daniel Witthaus, "Beyond Priscilla", Clouds of Magellan, Melbourne, 2014)