French government spilt over gay parents rights
A new section to a proposed legislation granting rights to step-parents states that the new bill is also applicable to households made up of two adults of the same sex, resulting in French Housing Minister to see red.PARIS – A French bill granting rights to step-parents sparked a row in government Tuesday when a minister described it as an under-handed way of recognising gay parents and vowed to fight the measure.
Housing Minister Christine Boutin, a staunch Catholic and vocal opponent of gay rights in France, said the proposed legislation contained provisions on homosexual couples that were surreptitiously included.
"I will not accept that we recognise homosexual parenting and adoptions by homosexual couples in an under-handed way," said Boutin in a statement.
"Recognising the status of stepparents will lead to the de facto recognition of homosexual parenting and adoptions by homosexual couples," she said.
In February, President Nicolas Sarkozy announced the new legislation giving step-parents rights over the children they raise, saying it would bring the law in step with the modern reality of reconstituted families.
Two million children live with parents who have remarried or found a new partner in France and nearly three million are being raised in single parent households.
In the latest version of the draft, families minister Nadine Morano added a section stating that step-parents' rights apply to "households made up of two adults of the same sex".
It would be the first time in France that legislation would recognise gay parents and Boutin promised to put up a fight when the bill comes before parliament later in March.
Defending the bill as a pragmatic step to help manage family life, Morano said Boutin should "drop her backward-looking ideological stance and read the text".
The bill does not recognise gay parents, Morano said, but allows a step-parent in agreement with the biological mother or father to exercise rights over a child.
The measure will "allow the person who is raising a child to be able to take action in the course of everyday life," Morano told RTL radio.
Some 30,000 children are being raised by gay parents in France, according to the INED demographics institute.
French courts have rejected bids by gay couples to win recognition for their parenting rights, even though they do enjoy the rights of married couples under French law.
AFP / Expatica