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  • « Gay media woes hit close to home | Main | The Week on GNW (Feb. 8-13) »

    February 15, 2009

    In France, more straights opting for civil unions over marriage

    Posted by: Andoni

    Sarkozy

    Well here's a twist. In France more and more straight couples are opting for civil unions instead of marriage. And in France, when you say marriage, you are talking about an institution that is a civil marriage by the government, not the religious entities that most marriages have become in the US. So in France, your choices are civil marriage or civil unions.

    France's civil union law was created in 1999 because gays were not allowed to marry, and they didn't want gays to be able to marry. However, in crafting the new law, which was understood to be for gays, the legislators left the language vague about gender. (Maybe this was because of the strong European Union rules requiring gender neutral and sexual orientation neutral language in new legislation -- they didn't want to trigger any challenges.)

    Now, after 10 years, one third of all straight couples getting "hitched" in France, opt for civil unions instead of marriage. The number of civil unions has grown annually from 6000 in the first year of the law, to 140,000 in 2008 --- with 92% of the civil unions last year involving straight couples.

    The main reason seems to be that a civil union offers about the same rights and benefits of marriage, but is easier to get out of than a marriage.

    A few weeks ago I proposed that the gay community in this country should move forward aggressively, pursuing both marriage equality where possible and civil unions every place else, so as to cover as many gay couples with rights and benefits as fast as possible -- in all 50 states. With tongue in cheek, I added that after a while, straights might want the law expanded to include them too, especially the ones who advocated of the separation of church and state. Little did I know that the trend of straight couples toward civil unions had already started in France.

    The most important point I would like to make is that it is terribly humorous and ironic that the French created civil unions to protect the institution of marriage..... and now civil unions are undermining marriage because people are opting for them instead of marriage. Talk about the law of unintended consequences.

    So possibly the lesson for our country is that the best way to protect the institution of marriage is not to deny people marriage by creating a separate but equal system, but to allow gays to marry.

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    Comments

    1. Bucky on Feb 15, 2009 12:28:30 PM:

      Separate is never equal.

      Never.

      That is why people want it separate.

    1. Lucrece on Feb 15, 2009 2:17:08 PM:

      The irony? The same unscrupulous straights seeking CU's because they're insecure about their relationships are the same straights to be denying gays the marriage rights.

    1. Joel on Feb 15, 2009 3:05:27 PM:

      What are you guys talking about? Insecure? A lot of people don't want their life commitments to be defined by religious tradition. Why are we hanging on to marriage when what this post reveals is that civil unions will end up becoming the norm. If the world won't accommodate us, let's turn the world on its head.

    1. Chuck on Feb 15, 2009 4:07:03 PM:

      I agree with Joel completely. If the mountain will not come to you, then fuck it. Let the damn thing sit where it is and build your own damn mountain. lol

      And, if the French heterosexual couples are choosing civil-unions over 'Traditional Marriage" as a better arrangement under which to set-up housekeeping, then why would we even want to insist on becoming entangled in a Church defined and dominated institution that it hi-jacked in the seventh century and that has close to a 50% failure rate? That too, is undoubtedly, being blamed on gays by the Vatican, as most of the other woes of the world are.

      It would seem, as evidenced by this latest development, that civil-unions that guarantee essentially the same benefits as traditional marriage, is the superior route to go while letting traditional marriage wither on the vine as more people wise-up to the ignorance and stubborn-headedness of the Vatican and the Poo...err, Pope.

      Anyone remember the famous expression "Fifty million Frenchmen can't be wrong"?

      I never cease to be amazed by the resourcefulness of the human spirit when it it confronted by an immovable obstacle, like when the Dutch government decided to tax the shit out of property owners to support an increasingly socialistic system.

      Has anyone ever wondered why the houses in Amsterdam are so narrow? Well, this was due to the fact that the taxing authorities based the real estate taxes on the footprint of the house. Accordingly, a house with a wide footprint, paid a much higher amount of tax than those with a narrow footprint, so people built their houses high and narrow to get around the excessive taxes wider homes were forced to pay.

      And that brings me around to yet another thought and question? If and when civil-unions became federal law in the US, what is to prevent the religious right to object to civil-unions for same-sex couples for the very same reasons that they presently object to it for? The the religious whack jobs, civil-unions with essentially the same rights and privileges of marriage, would look and sound exactly alike, regardless of what we call them and technically, government will have become guilty of the charge of "redefining marriage" while the same old goggblety-gook about homosexuality being a sin will still remain the trust for objecting to any kind of a validation of a relationship that they hold to be sinful and in violation of God's law.

      Since the federal government leaves it to "states's rights' to make these distinctions, what's to prevent the fundies & magical undies crowd from passing new state referendums against same-sex civil-unions, in the same manner that they have passed state referendums prohibiting same-sex marriage?

      Theoretically, this could go on, ad nauseum, until we arrive at some point in this country, that the sane people will outvote the crazies at the polls and our politicians will have the guts to stand up to these people and protect the Constitution that they just trashed in California.

      Anyone have any thought on this?

    1. Panama offshore services on Feb 17, 2009 6:01:32 AM:

      very informative post. We too agree with Joel on this issue.

      Thanks,
      Sam

    1. InExile on Feb 17, 2009 11:29:40 AM:

      The civil union in France is called the PAX. The PAX does not have the same rights as marriage although it is better than nothing. The PAX does allow same sex couples to sponsor their partners for immigration but it is not an easy raod. Recently France added inheritance rights to the PAX that was not there 3 years ago. The President of France promised full civil unions for gay people with the same rights as marriage but did not honor his campaign promise as of yet. And for a foreign born partner to stay in France you must learn to speak French fluently so until then you live under the threat of not having your right to stay renewed if "whoever" does not think you speak french well enough.

      Straight couples are opting for the PAX because it is just easier and is non-religious. But it absolutely does not carry the same rights as marraige.

      InExile
      St. Martin, France

    1. levitra brand on Oct 2, 2009 8:51:43 AM:

      It is very strange thing I think

    1. shanty on Jan 10, 2010 3:20:05 PM:

      i would like to know whether pax is used for citizenship

    1. divorce attorney arkansas on Dec 16, 2010 9:05:01 AM:

      Equality on both parties is always important.

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