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In Tight Election, French President Hedges on Marriage Equality

by Jason St. Amand
National News Editor
Friday Mar 30, 2012

France's President Nicolas Sarkozy may change his views on same-sex marriage in order to defeat his rival in the upcoming elections, the conservative right wing website Life Site News reported.

Sarkozy is falling behind his opponent Francois Hollande, who supports marriage equality, in the polls. Now the French president says he will create a marriage ceremony that would be performed by the government. The new measure would be part of France's Pact of Civil Solidarity (PACS), which is similar to a civil union in the U.S.

"I am ready to propose -- it would be a matter of a decree-that the marriage ceremony, for a homosexual PACS, be made a right," Sarkozy said in an interview with the French magazine Tetu. He added, "the ceremony would permit a true social acceptance" same-sex relationships.

Sarkozy went on to say that he supports non-traditional families as well.

"A family can be one father-one mother, two fathers or two mothers. I think that it's necessary to leave the situation as it is, in a somewhat unclear area, that we are not obligated to legislate everything, to vote for laws for everything," Sarkozy said.

Hollande told the gay glossy magazine Tetu that he wants to legalize gay marriage in the country by early 2013. According to several opinion polls, the majority of the French public support marriage equality, Life Site News points out.

"I know that the first months of the parliamentary session will be essentially committed to elements of financial planning, so I prefer to be honest: if we want a good debate, it's better to start at the beginning of 2013 and to finish by spring," Hollande told Tetu.

But just last month, Sarkozy was interviewed by a conservative French magazine and he told the publication that he would not support gay marriage in his re-election platform.

"In troubled times, when our society needs to keep its bearings, I don't think that it is necessary to blur the image of this essential social institution that is marriage," Sarkozy said.

He also told the magazine that even though he won't back gay marriage he would support other rights for gays, including inheritance rights. But Sarkozy went on to say that he is against civil unions because it would "tend to harm the institution of marriage."

"I know that there exists, in fact, particular situations with men and with women who assume their parental roles perfectly. But they do not lead me to think that it is necessary to inscribe in law a new definition of family," Sarkozy said.


  • Gerard Koskovich, 2012-03-30 11:08:45

    As a devoted francophile, I can say that this article utterly misconstrues the situation of French law and politics. Sarkozy is firmly against marriage equality. What he’s suggesting is that people who sign up for a domestic partnership (PACS) can have the act marked by a ceremony at the local city hall similar to the one conducted for marriages. Many mayors around France have refused to allow such ceremonies for the PACS, which they insist is simply an administrative act without the symbolic value of marriage. Under French law, the president has the authority to order mayors to offer a ceremony for those signing up for a PACS - and that’s all Sarkozy is suggesting he would do. Unlike marriage, the PACS offers fewer rights and responsibilities and is open to both same-sex and opposite-sex couples (and, in fact, most of the couples in PACS in France are heterosexual). Sarkozy is not suggesting that same-sex unions be recognized under the same law as heterosexual marriages - notably because he is resolutely opposed to adoption by same-sex couples. The article also gets it wrong with regard to what Sarkozy is saying about lesbian and gay families. Far from "supporting" them, he’s saying that he recognizes they exist but opposes any legal recognition for them. For instance, French law currently provides no parental rights for the non-biological parent. Sarkozy saying he would "leave things as they are" acutally means he opposes efforts to establish legal status for same-sex families. All he did in his interview with TĂȘtu was soften his tone, not change his position.

  • , 2012-03-31 12:57:42

    as a french too i totally agree you should totally re write this article .... He s firmly against gay marriage !!! he just came back of what he said 5 years ago .... REWRITE this article !!!!! My president is not For GAY RiGHTS !!!

  • , 2012-03-31 14:17:16

    Flip flop Sarkozy

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