THE government has dropped plans for a family law this year, delighting the tens of thousands of protesters who took to the streets of Paris and Lyon at the weekend to demonstrate against reforms that they claim undermine traditional family values.
The government yesterday tried to reassure demonstrators that the new law would not legalise assisted conception for lesbian couples or surrogate motherhood (eg. for gay men who want children), measures which some on the political left would like to be included in the law.
However a spokesman for Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault's office said later that the government would no longer present a bill this year that was to be aimed at modernising the law to reflect the new "diversity" of families, notably by giving clearer rights to stepparents.
The debate, already postponed from March 2013, is said to have fallen foul of campaigns for municipal elections and European elections. The priority now is believed to be fighting high unemployment and pushing through a new tax scheme intended to kickstart the employment market by encouraging companies to start hiring again.
Ludovine de la Rochère, head of the Manif Pour Tous (Protest for All) movement that organised Sunday’s demonstrations, declared the government's decision a “first great victory” for the conservative movement.
She said: "We welcome this public commitment. What was outlined in this bill was not conducive to the interests of children or of the family."
Protesters were also worried about the state’s role in sex education, and the supposed “gender theory” lurking behind an “ABCD of equality” initiative aimed at breaking down gender stereotypes in schools.
The head of the government's Green Party coalition allies, Emmanuelle Cosse, urged the Socialists to reconsider. "This renunciation, a day after the mobilisation of the reactionary camp, is appalling," she said.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons/ Claude TRUONG-NGOC