The French government has announced it will introduce legislation early next year to allow gays and lesbians to legally marry and adopt children.
Prime Minister Jean Marc Ayrault made the announcement during his keynote speech to Parliament outlining the Socialist government's 5 year plan. France24 quotes Ayrault saying "In the first half of 2013 the right to marriage and adoption will be open to all couples without discrimination" fulfilling an election promise by President Francois Hollande. Ayrault adds "Our society is evolving, lifestyles and mentalities are changing. The government will respond to that." Since the Socialists won a majority government in June, the Conservative party under Nicolas Sarkozy can’t do anything to stop it.
France will become the seventh European Union country to legalize same-sex marriage; currently Belgium, Denmark, The Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Sweden have made it official. Portugal’s marriage law forbids gay and lesbian couples from adopting children. The gay website Pink News reports France now allows Civil Solidarity Pacts (PACS) to same-sex couples offering certain legal protections but not the right to joint adoption or artificial insemination.
The BBC reports a survey at the beginning of the year found a majority of French voters are in favour of same-sex marriage with 63% saying ‘oui’ to LGBT couples tying the knot while 56% support gay adoption. It also says 6.5% of the French electorate identify as LGBT compared with 4.5% who are practising Catholics.
Reuters reported last week that the French government also announced it will hold hearings this fall to make life easier for transgendered people who still run into problems with the French legal system over changing their name and sex on documents.
The announcement comes just days after Dominique Bertinotti, French Minister for Families took part in the Paris Gay Pride parade.
No specific date has been confirmed yet when the legislation will be introduced.