Call for vote on gay marriage

Front National leader Marine Le Pen says there should be a referendum on gay marriage and adoption

5 November 2012

FAR right leader Marine Le Pen has called for a referendum to be held on gay marriage.

Interviewed on BFM TV the Front National leader, who opposes gay marriage, said: “Let’s have a referendum; because I remember that when we had a survey on the European constitution 62% of French people were in favour of it, but once there had been a debate about it, there was a referendum [in 2005] and 55% said “no”.

Interior Minister Manuel Valls has, however, said there should not be a referendum, saying “marriage for all” is one of those “big choices” that parliament has to take a stand on, like, in the past, the death penalty or abortion.

Many of those on the political right are in agreement with Ms Le Pen in opposing the gay marriage law, as is the Catholic church. The draft law also allows adoption by homosexual couples - at present only married people can adopt as a couple (though people in a pacs or simply living together can adopt as individuals).

Surveys show support by the public, though this has dropped slightly according to one recently by BVA published in Le Parisien. Fifty-eight per cent were in favour compared to 63% in a similar survey in 2011, the first time in 10 years that a survey has shown a drop on the gay marriage question.

The law is backed by gay rights groups, though some activists say it does not go far enough, as, for example, it lacks a clause allowing lesbians to use artificial fertility treatments.

Campaign body SOS Homophobie says there is no need for a referendum as the French people have already had their say – gay marriage was part of François Hollande’s manifesto for the presidential campaign.

The planned new law changes the definition of marriage to say: “marriage is contracted between two people of different sexes or of the same sex”.

iStock.com jamievanbuskir

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