News / Europe

France Divided Over Gay Marriage Issue

France Divided Over Gay Marriagei
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
January 29, 2013 2:07 PM
French lawmakers consider a new law Tuesday which would allow gay couples to marry and adopt children. A number of European countries have already enacted laws to allow homosexual couples to marry, but as Henry Ridgwell reports from Paris, the issue has sparked heated debate in France.
France Divided Over Gay Marriage
Henry Ridgwell
French lawmakers debate a new law Tuesday which would allow gay couples to marry and adopt children. A number of countries in Europe have enacted laws allowing homosexual couples to marry, but the issue has sparked heated debate in France.
 
The issue of children has come to dominate the debate in France. Allowing same-sex couples to adopt has divided the country, even more deeply than allowing them to marry.

The Socialist party of President Francois Hollande enjoys a majority in parliament and should easily vote the bill through.

But the law’s opponents are determined to stop it.

One woman has become the public face of that opposition. Frigide Barjot, a comedienne with striking blonde hair, says the majority of French people are behind her.

Barjot says that families must stay united around the concept of parenthood. Even if some children are raised between loving couples of the same sex, she says, the child cannot lose his or her origin without losing the ties that bind society.

Polls show a slim majority support gay marriage. But Barjot and her backers are demanding a referendum and are taking their protests beyond Paris to other parts of the country.

A march against the law change in the capital last month attracted hundreds of thousands of people.

Among them were members of ‘"Homovox," a website which provides a platform for homosexuals who oppose gay marriage.

Nathalie de Williencourt, the website's cofounder, says homosexual couples are different from heterosexual couples because they cannot procreate. They know, she says, that two women or two men cannot generate life.

The Catholic Church in France backs opposition to gay marriage. But those who support the law say that in the land of liberty, equality and fraternity, the right to marry should be extended to gay couples.

Supporters made their demands clear at a rally in Paris Sunday. Police say 125,000 people attended, around one-third of the number who marched against the law. The mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delanoë, who is gay, was among them.

The head of a gay rights group, Frédéric Navarro, says the law would be a landmark change for homosexual couples.  Navarro, president of Act Up Paris, also says gay married couples can raise children just as well as heterosexual partners.

“We say to those who are against marriage for all: Yes, the important thing is children raised within a family. And the denigration of homosexuality, to regard homosexuality as if we are somehow below society. … Sorry, but we are beyond that now," said Navarro.

Gay rights groups say they have seen a rise in the number of verbal and physical attacks on gay people since the debate intensified last summer.

Opponents of the law say they will continue their protests even if the bill is passed.

You May Like

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Bouscayrol from: France
February 04, 2013 11:56 AM
The problem is not education or love, but filiation. Can the Law legalize the absence of a father or a mother? That's the real point.
@Willem: gay marriage didn't stop homophobia in SA. On the contrary there are more and more rapes against homosexuals.
@Leslie: 63% of French people are in favor of gay marriage but 49% for gay adoption. You have to know that in France the law about mariage is the same for adoption: when you are married you can adopt. Indeed French people are for an "union" between gay people with the same rights about fiscality and inheritance as heterosexuals. But they are against gay adoption.


by: MACDONALDBANK from: TORONTO
January 29, 2013 2:53 PM
Being black, left-handed or being gay is just as natural. It is a sometimes rare occurrence to fall in Love and to hold that person in your heart and be loved in return ... it is something that should be celebrated! If it’s between two guys or two girls -- all the better. It takes even more courage to defend that LOVE!


by: Willem from: South Africa
January 29, 2013 2:29 PM
A child needs lots of love, a safe home, food, good education and one good parent (male or female) to raise it. If it has two parents, straight or gay, even better. I am shocked to read about the backward state of mind of some Frence. Thank God we here in South Africa can marry any race or sex legally, and not be punished for that.


by: Leslie from: California
January 29, 2013 1:15 PM
"Polls show a slim majority support gay marriage." (? !)

63% of French citizens in the latest poll support same-sex marriage. Not exactly "a slim majority."

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportionali
X
Aru Pande
December 19, 2014 1:45 AM
The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportional

The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid