Last week the French President Francois Hollande’s government approved a bill to legalise equal marriage and allow gay couples to adopt. The new reform was strongly opposed by many, including over 1,000 mayors and the entire French Catholic Church hierarchy.
France is one of a number of European nations that already have civil unions for same-sex couples, however gay marriage was one of Hollande’s campaign pledges during his bid to become President. On Wednesday he told his cabinet that the bill would mean “progress not only for individuals but for the whole of society” they approved the bill.
Recent opinion polls have increasingly shown that the majority of the French population now support marriage equality, Le Monde newspaper, showed that 65% of French people supported marriage equality and 52% of people supported the right of gay couples to adopt. Of course the prospect of gays and lesbians being treated equally in society has angered many in the legal, religious and conservative political communities.
The UMP have strongly denounced the measure, “It’s the end of the family, the end of children’s development, the end of education. It’s an enormous danger to the nation,” came the outrageous statement from UMP Senator Serge Dassault on a radio talk show in Wednesday.
Yet the popular move was celebrated by thousands of people who turned out on Wednesday evening to show support for marriage equality and adoption rights for same-sex couples outside the National Assembly in Paris.
Many of those gathering chanted “equality now” showing their support, there was also dancing and cheering and to show their support for the reform, “This is the first time for this cause, because of today’s announcement. We learned about the rally from Facebook events, and we have a lot of friends who sent invitations to us.” one couple at the rally told media reporters, “There is a lot of hypocrisy around all of this in the media, other people, and from the church. We’re a changing society. A lot of lesbian couples already have children, so it’s just a legal thing. It’s really important for us.”
The bill will be debated in the French parliament in January 2013, however the future is looking promising, despite the strong opposition from the religious organisations and political foes.
Equality is coming – slowly!