Random posts on all sorts of things designed to inform and provoke.
Despite large scale demonstrations expressing support for same-sex marriage, French president Francois Hollande’s administration remains mired in trouble regarding this issue. The newly elected president, already reeling from the negative reaction to his recently implemented high tax rates, thought he had found an issue that would unite all French people behind him. It turns out he was partially correct as citizens of all political persuasions have indeed united but have done so against their president.
The blame for this uniform anger lies squarely with an administration that tried to author legislation that it thought would please everyone. It goes without saying that any law that legalizes this practice was bound to upset supporters of traditional marital unions. Supporters of same-sex marriage, on the other hand, are upset because this law would only allow married same-sex couples to adopt children – this practice, by the way, remains illegal in France. On top of which, the law would not give automatic joint parenting rights to same-sex couples who have a child together. As a result, and quite shockingly, homosexual French citizens may end up having fewer rights than their more conservative and stiff upper-lipped British counterparts.
While it remains a contentious issue, support for same-sex marriage continues to gain steam as eleven countries have legalized it since 2001 – the most recent being Denmark. Nine US states have also joined these eleven countries while 31 states have amended their constitutions to prohibit same-sex marriage. This issue is likely to come to a head soon in the United States as the country’s Supreme Court recently announced that it would deliberate on this issue.
I was initially pretty surprised at the French reaction because I thought a nation that produced Brigitte Bardot would automatically and instinctively support anything with a liberal bent. Obviously, my reaction would have been different had I just looked at Bardot’s recent conviction for inciting racial hatred. I still contend – and am encouraged by the demonstrations this weekend – that the negative reaction to this legislation does not have as much to do with the French as with the Hollande administration’s attempt to please everyone. To paraphrase the quote attributed to the great Abraham Lincoln, President Hollande should realize that one can please some people all of the time and all of the people some of the time but one cannot please all of the people all of the time.