Vive La France – But Hold The Champagne

Manif Pour Tous demo: Fred 2 Baro

This is welcome, but it isn’t equality. Rather, it creates a dangerous precedent: 1st and 2nd class marriages. And guess which one we get?

The French same-sex marriage law doesn’t say “Marriage is contracted by two persons”

Art. 143. – Marriage is contracted by two persons of opposite sex or the same sex.

Where that leaves transgender people I am as yet unclear, but it clearly excludes intersex people. So on that ground alone, it isn’t “equality”.

There are other worrying holes in the legislation, compromises made in an effort to win over opponents. None of which had the slightest effect in mitigating the hatred and violence that is still, even after the bills passage, taking place on the streets of France.

In addition to excluding intersex people, the bill also severely restricts the parenting rights of gay and lesbian couples.

It does not give automatic joint parenting rights to gay couples who have a child together; nor does it allow gay women to go to sperm banks. Hundreds of thousands of children are being raised in gay families in France, whose parents now have to marry before applying to adopt their own children. [The Guardian – Editorial]

Think about that a moment .

The law [does] not give automatic joint parenting rights to gay couples who have a child together, nor would it allow medically assisted procreation or IVF. This gives French gay people far fewer rights than those in the UK, and leaves a stark inequality between gay and straight couples which has infuriated many on the left. [The Guardian]

There’s a lesson there for Australian equal marriage campaigners. Don’t accept any compromises. They will not mollify anyone on the other side, and they will cripple the legislation that results.

Opponents are still not satisfied, demonstrating angrily in the streets outside parliament even after the law passed, vowing to continue demonstrating, and trying to overturn the law in the constitutional council. I say again: when it’s our turn, there must be none of these crippling compromises. Equality is not divisible. And this measure, while welcome, is not equality.

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)