Same-Sex Marriage Now Legal in Fourteen Countries of the World
France became the fourteenth country in the international forum to legalize gay marriages on the 26th of April, following the steps of several of its fellow European Union members including the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Denmark, Portugal and Sweden.
Same sex marriage is generally referred to be a marriage between two persons of the same biological sex and are sometimes also referred to as “gay marriages”. Legalizing this kind of matrimonial bond has always been a point of debate in legislation all across the world – and France was no different, as intense debate over the issue preluded the final decision.
This legislation for equal marriage-sponsored by President Francois Hollande and expected to be approved by the constitutional council-has faced severe opposition, particularly from Roman Catholics from rural areas backed by prominent religious leaders as well as the conservative opposition party in France.
In the aftermath of the decision to legalize same-sex marriages, there has been a nation- wide increase in attacks on gay and lesbian couples. Not only that, the French government is left to face severe riots and protests, as a wave of opposition continues in the country. Police estimates reveal that around 45,000 people came out on Sunday to protest against the same-sex marriage law while the number of supporters only amounted up to about 3,500.
It was not only the streets that reflected the strong feelings of the French public towards the new law but social media sites including Twitter erupted into both celebrations as well as hate speech after the decision for the same-sex law was passed.
While gay marriages in several nations have passed without a problem, this issue seems to have polarized France. On one side Sociologists argue that France’s social fabric and identity crisis helps explain the intensity of the debate, while on the other hand experts argue that the division over gay marriage rights follows political lines in France. The opposition has seized the opportunity to unite against the bill and use it to put pressure on an already bruised management.
According to political analyst Jean-Yves Camus, “It was the first chance for the right-wing electorate to express their opposition to Francois Hollande’s presidency and (Prime Minister) Jean-Marc Ayrault’s government…”
The main focus of opposition and issue of discomfort for the public is the allowance of adoption to married same-sex couples, with protester’s slogans reading, ‘‘All born from a man and a woman.’’
Opinion polls have fiercely indicated that people are not as opposed to the idea of gay marriage as they are to adoption rights for homosexual couples and, that essentially is, what is causing the rousing debate over the new legislation.
“It was clumsy of the government to initially suggest that the bill would also legalize medically assisted procreation” for homosexual couples, said Michel Wieviorka, one of France’s most renowned sociologists.
This intense opposition reflects the fact that despite being portrayed as a country of free thinkers and liberals, France remains a conservative society where family links are still extremely strong and considered sacred.