June 15, 2011

IconFrench parliament rejects gay marriage

The lower house of the French parliament has voted against a bill to legalise same-sex marriage.

Legislators of the National Assembly voted 293 to 222 to reject the bill, which was sponsored by the opposition Socialist Party and opposed by the ruling Union for a Popular Movement. The defeat was expected by political commentators.

The move comes just months after the country’s constitutional court ruled against a lesbian couple seeking equal marriage rights. Judges argued that any change to the law must come from elected representatives.

The French government’s conservative attitude towards marriage is not necessarily reflected in popular opinion. A survey of 950 respondents undertaken in January indicated that 58% supported gay marriage. Only 35% opposed the idea.

Civil unions for gay couples have been legal in France since 1999, but this institution does not encompass the same rights as marriage.

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Ruth Pearce


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