in brief: french senate approves same-sex marriage bill
The French senate passed an article of the bill to legalise same-sex marriage on Tuesday night, redefining the union as between “two individuals of different sex or of the same sex”.
The article is a key element of the bill that also legalises adoption by same-sex partners. After lengthy debate, the article was passed with a majority of 179 votes to 157.
While the bill is far from being passed as a whole, the redefinition of marriage is being heralded as a significant step on the path to marriage equality. The Senate will now review the entire bill, which may take weeks.
Its passing is viewed as inevitable by most in France, though protests and campaigns against the bill have steadily continued across the nation since it was introduced.
The leader of one such protest, Frigide Barjot (real name Virginie Tellenne) last week predicted “civil war” if President François Hollande presses on with the “marriage for all” bill.
According to Radio France International, supporters of the bill have been subjected to acts of violence.
Green Senator Esther Benbassa’s car was vandalised outside her home on Saturday night, and she reports receiving threats by phone, email and post.
Centre-right MP and former environment minister Chantal Jouanno, who backs the bill, was woken up by a noisy street protest outside her home at dawn on Thursday.
Justice Minister Christiane Taubira, Families Minister Dominique Bertinotti, and Interior Minister Manuel Valls, have been targeted by demonstrators, as was President François Hollande while on a visit to the south-west last weekend.
Two gay couples were attacked over the weekend. Sixty of such incidences were reported last week, according to the SOS Homophobie group.
The passing of the bill represents a movement towards long overdue mainstream acceptance of homosexuality.
‘Given the abuses that took place either by manifestations of violence in the street, either by verbal excesses in the chamber, the vote on this article marks a victory for the fight against homophobia, tolerance and the of democracy,’ François Rebsamen, of the Socialist party, stated.
The next stage of the bill to be voted on is the article legalising adoption by same-sex couples. The reforms were a significant part of President Hollande’s election campaign, and he has indicated strong support for the bill.